Parker Solar Probe: NASA Spacecraft touches corona of the sun; all you need to know

The spacecraft plunged through the unexplored solar atmosphere known as the corona of the Sun. It made its way through an extreme environment which is roughly 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.

FP Trending December 16, 2021 09:55:20 IST
Parker Solar Probe: NASA Spacecraft touches corona of the sun; all you need to know

An artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe approaching the Sun. AP

A spacecraft launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has achieved a feat that was once thought to be impossible.

The rocketship, called the Parker Solar Probe, has officially “touched” the Sun. Yes, you read it right. The spacecraft plunged through the unexplored solar atmosphere known as the corona of the Sun. It made its way through an extreme environment which is roughly 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.

After a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, experienced scientists made the announcement on Tuesday (14 December). They noticed that the Parker flew through the corona in April, this year when the spacecraft was making its eighth close approach to the sun.

Further giving clarity on the same, scientists asserted that it took them a few months to get the data back while several months more to confirm on it. Meanwhile, project scientist Nour Raouafi of Johns Hopkins University claimed it was “Fascinatingly exciting.”

What is Parker Solar Probe all about? 

This spacecraft was launched in the year 2018 to discover and explore the mysteries of the Sun by travelling closer to it. 

On 28 April, the Parker successfully entered and flew through the Sun's upper atmosphere. Not just that, it also sampled particles and magnetic fields that are situated on the surface of the Sun. By collecting particles from the Sun's atmosphere, the spacecraft has also helped scientists in verifying the objective of the rocket ship that it indeed crossed into the corona.

Is the Parker Solar probe successful? 

According to the data received and collected by the spacecraft, it had entered the corona three times on 28 April, and at one point for up to five hours. Furthermore, a detailed report on it describes the historic milestone that was published in the Physical Review Letters. Also, the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) astrophysicist explained how the Solar Probe Cup made an incredible feat.

How far is the Parker solar probe now? 

Researchers were uncertain exactly where the Alfvén critical surface lay in the Sun. With recent reports and images, the Parker Solar Probe had been flying beyond the Alfvén critical surface prior to 28 April, 2021, during its eighth flyby of the Sun. The spacecraft, then encounters the particle and specific magnetic conditions at 18.8 solar radii, which is approximately around 8.1 million miles above the solar surface.

Recent updates claim that the Parker had crossed the Alfvén critical surface and finally entered the solar atmosphere.

Will the Parker Solar Probe burn up? 

The Parker Solar Probe will not melt or burn up because it has been designed to withstand any extreme condition and temperature on the mission. Additionally, the spacecraft’s custom heat shield will help and protect the mission from the Sun’s intense light emission. It will also not allow the coronal material to “touch” the spacecraft.

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