A NASA spacecraft has travelled closer to the Sun than ever before, in a mission to help Scientists better understand stars.
It really is the year of corona, with another form of the word entering the news today after NASA spacecraft, the Parker Solar Probe, reached the outer atmosphere of the Sun, known as the ‘corona’.
Don’t worry, it’s not the beer or the virus. Would be the perfect place for the beer though.
The probe launched in 2018 and for three years, orbited the Sun, aiming to get as close to the surface as possible.
The mission reached the Sun’s atmosphere in April, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that the US space agency announced the achievement, after the data taken by the spacecraft had finally been downloaded and analysed.
So, is this another ‘for the sake of it’ Bezos dick rocket, or was the Parker Solar Probe actually making itself useful?
Well, NASA reckon they can learn a heck of a lot from the spacecraft. According to solar physicist Craig DeForest, exploring the Sun’s corona was one of the last major “great unknowns” in the world of space exploration… Really? Are we done with space now?
Of course not.
Some of the baffling queries scientists are keen to answer include; how the Sun creates solar wind and how the corona reaches temperatures higher than the Sun itself.
Because of these high heats, a carbon-deposit heat shield was designed to protect the probe from temperatures of up to 1,370 °C. But that seems a bit pointless when they obviously could have just gone at night (just joking, pls don’t come at us).
The analysis of the data recorded from the mission is still underway, so watch this space for further updates (excuse the shocker of a pun).