NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is about launch their Solar Probe Plus to accomplish their Touch the Sun mission, in the year 2018 the NASA is going to launch a car sized spacecraft that will plunge in to the sun’s atmosphere; this will be around 4 million miles away from the sun. 

Though they  are not going exactly closer to the Sun but the heat will be above thousand degree’s which is enough to burn the whole spacecraft,  however carbon composite thick layer on the spacecraft is designed to protect it from the burning heat and temperatures of the Sun.

The Solar Probe Plus mission of NASA will be exploring those regions of the space which no other mission or space craft has ever experienced in their journey, but how did this all began? Back in the year 2010, NASA selected 5 inventions that would help them to disclose some of the mysteries of the Sun.

The experiments which were selected by the NASA entirely focusing on two aspects –

  • The Sun’s outer surface so much hotter than the Sun’s visible surface.
  • Propel of the Solar wind on the Earth and the Solar system.

According to Dick Fisher the director of the NASA’s Heliophysics Division Washington this mission was entirely designed to solve these two mysteries the NASA was pondering on since years. It took almost 7 years for them to design and be almost set to launch the mission in the Space.

In the year 2009 the NASA invited many researchers to submit their science proposals about 13 of them were reviewed by the NASA and some other scientists as well and the narrowed down  to 5 which was for about 180 million dollars for preliminary analysis, design and development as well as tests.

The Five proposals selected were as follows –

  • Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons Investigation – This investigation will be mainly responsible to count the particles in the Solar wind which are available in abundance.  Particles electrons, protons and helium ions, they will be even measuring the properties. According to this investigation proposal they will even catch some of the particles directly to make a clear analysis and inspection.   These investigators of these proposals are Justin C Kasper, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in the Cambridge, Mass.
  • Wide Field imager- In this investigation the telescope will make about  3D images of the Sun’s Corona and the atmosphere of the Sun. not only this but the experiment will even have the 3D images of the Solar wind and it’s quite shock waves  as it will be doing this as they pass the spacecraft.  The Wide Field imager investigation proposal complements the instruments that are on the space craft that will be giving direct measurements by imaging the plasma the other instruments sample. The investigator of this proposal is Russell Howard, Naval Research laboratory in the Washington D.C.
  • The Field’s experiment – This investigation will enable the scientists to study the fields  and make direct measurements of electric and magnetic fields of the Sun. This will also be including the study of the radio emissions and the shock waves that always course through the Sun’s atmospheric Plasma. This experiment will also serve the purpose of the Giant dust detector and it will also register the voltage signatures at the time when specks of dust hit the space craft antenna. And the principal investigator of this proposal is Stuart Bale, University of California Space sciences laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.
  • Integrated Science investigation of the Sun –  This investigation just simply investigate two basic components that will be studying as well as monitoring electrons , protons and ions that are accelerated to some high level energies in the Sun’s atmosphere.
  • Heliospheric origins with the Solar Probe Plus – in this project proposals the Human’s inventiveness will be reaching another heights where no one has reached before, This is claimed by the Solar Probe Plus scientists at the NASA head quarters Lika Guhathkurta in Washington.  This will be the first ever time the humans will be able to touch and smell or even be this closer to the Sun.  The Solar Probe Plus is nothing but a part of one of the missions of the NASA of living with the Star program.  The living the star program is all about the study of the different links between the various Solar, Earth and space systems that are affecting the Earth’s human life.  This will also include some of other strategic missions and targeted research and even the technology development. It will be space environment test bed flight opportunity and partnerships with some other agencies and other countries as well.

This SOLAR PROBE PLUS program will understand about the Sun’s atmosphere as well as the Earth’s atmosphere which is affecting the life and the society on the earth. This program is solely managed by the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight center in the Greenbelt, MD.  This program also has an over sight from NASA’s science mission directorate Heliophysics Division.

Related : Solar Probe Plus will be renamed as Parker Probe Plus

The Johns Hopkins University pertained physics laboratory in Laurel, MD is taking charge of the formulating and implementing and even will be operating the Solar Probe mission.

The Main and the principal investigators of this investigation proposal is Marco Velli of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Clif.  Velli will be the observatory scientists of the Solar Probe Plus mission and will be responsible for the serving and reporting the senior scientists on the science working group. Not only will this but Velli also be giving an independent judgment of the scientific performance and acts as the community advocate for the Solar Probe Plus mission.

This is one of the missions of the NASA’s Living in the Sun and there are many more missions coming soon which will soon help us to know the upcoming impact on the Human life on Planet Earth.


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