Considering the importance of life on Earth, we know remarkably little about the sun – the star at the center of our solar system. That will change when NASA launches the Parker Solar Probe, which is currently scheduled for the 11th of August. Parker's seven-year mission will come closer to the sun than any other space probe to get directly into the "atmosphere" of the sun.
of the NASA project, it is helpful to look at some aspects of the Sun. First, on a human level, it is huge. It would take 1.3 million earths to fill its volume, and it accounts for 99.86% of the mass of our solar system. The sun consists of about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium, with the remaining 2% by mass consisting of all other elements. The equator of the huge gas ball revolves once every 25.4 days. Near the poles, the rotation is slower and lasts up to 36 days.
The sun is powered by nuclear fusion and converts hydrogen to helium. At its core, the sun is unimaginably dense and hot ̵
The interactions of the charged particles of the solar winds with the Earth's atmosphere and magnetic fields can produce the Aurora effects in the upper atmosphere near the poles. You can also interfere with local communication and power transmission. Satellites in Earth orbit can be damaged by solar winds. One of Parker's mission goals is to understand the origins of these winds to predict disturbances on Earth.
"And although the solar wind is invisible, we can see it orbits the poles Aurora, which are beautiful – but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade in our atmosphere," said Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probes Project scientist at the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University in a NASA meeting. "We do not have a deep understanding of the mechanisms that drive this wind on us, and we want to discover that," Fox added.
|NASA's Parker Solar Probe has to hide behind its heat shield to withstand the high temperatures of the solar corona. (Source: NASA)|
A lot of technology and material design was used in the development of the Parker Solar Probe. To withstand the high temperatures of the corona, a large heat shield (nearly eight feet in diameter) was developed to protect the car-sized spacecraft. On its surface, the shield consists of a layer of a tough carbon-carbon composite. Behind it sits a 4-1 / 2-inch thick layer of structural carbon foam that is 97% empty to provide insulation. The solar panels can retract when the probe is near the sun and extend when the probe is outside of Venus to regulate its output. The solar cells are water-cooled to prevent the solar cells from overheating when exposed to sunlight.