“Equivalent to the moon landing”: NASA prepares to touch the Sun
In late 2024, NASA will launch what it describes as a “touch the Sun” mission. The probe will orbit closer to the Sun’s surface than ever before to gather more information about the solar winds. “This mission is equivalent to the Moon landing in 1969,” said Nour Raouafi, a scientist involved in the project.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is set to pass close to the Sun this year, marking a milestone for space exploration.
The probe, launched on August 12, 2018, will fly past the Sun at 195 km/s on December 24, 2024, BBC reports.
NASA describes it on its website as a “touch the Sun” mission, aiming to take “the first sampling of a star’s atmosphere”.
“A MISSION EQUIVALENT TO THE MOON LANDING”
Nour Raouafi, one of the scientists involved in the project, told the BBC: “We are almost landing on a star. This will be a monumental achievement for all humanity. This is equivalent to the Moon landing in 1969,” Nour Raouafi, one of the scientists involved in the project, told the BBC.
NASA says the probe aims to help us better understand the Sun by orbiting closer to the Sun’s surface than ever before and orbiting Mercury.
WILL GATHER INFORMATION ON SOLAR WINDS
The probe is collecting measurements and images to help scientists learn more about where the solar wind comes from and how it evolves.
During its journey, the probe will encounter extreme heat and radiation and fly “seven times closer to the Sun than any spacecraft”.
THEY WILL LOOK FOR HEAT WAVES
Dr. Nicky Fox, NASA’s chief science officer, said they don’t know what they will find on the mission, but noted that they will be looking for waves in the solar wind associated with warming.
“I suspect we’ll feel a lot of different types of waves that will indicate a mix of processes that people have been discussing for years,” Fox added.