Science

Solar Orbiter probe launches into space to discover Sun's secrets

Solar Orbiter probe launches into space to discover Sun's secrets”

"Solar Orbiter is going to do awesome things", said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for Science at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "It's a fantastic moment.it's like, well, we're unstoppable".

"Whenever you launch something, it's incredibly exciting", said ESA's Director of Science Günther Hasinger, to Space.com. Solar Orbiter was built by Airbus Defense and Space.

Solar Orbiter won't be able to unlock those mysteries immediately.

NASA provided the solar probe with one of its 10 instruments - the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager or SoloHI.

Almost 1,000 scientists and engineers from across Europe gathered with their US colleagues under a full moon as United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket blasted off, illuminating the sky for miles around. Crowd also got stuck near roads and beaches.

The rocket was visible for four full minutes after liftoff, a brilliant star piercing the night sky.

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Although the three projects are separate endeavors, both scientists said they and their colleagues are awfully excited about pulling all the data together.

At 06:03 CET (12:24 a.m. EST), mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, received a signal from the spacecraft indicating that its solar panels had successfully deployed. The first of its close solar passes is expected to take place at the end of May 2022. While the Parker Probe is smaller, it's able to go closer to the Sun, but it doesn't have cameras to capture what it sees. But it doesn't fly anywhere near the poles. That is where Solar Orbiter will shine. The sun is just one of many inter-agency collaborations, including NASA and the European Space Agency.

The poles of the sun have dark, constantly changing coronal holes. They're hubs for the sun's magnetic field, flipping polarity every 11 years.

"Gravity assists from Earth and Venus will help swing the spacecraft out of the ecliptic plane, or the space that aligns with the sun's equator, so it can study the sun's poles from above and below", CNN writes. "Combined with the other recently launched NASA solar exploration missions, we're gaining unprecedented new knowledge about our star", said Zurbuchen. "That's where all the fast solar wind comes from. It really is a very different picture". These instruments are packed behind 324-pound heat shield. "Solar Orbiter is putting the focus back on the processes that are involved in transporting material from the Sun to Earth".

The mission is created to last at least 10 years. "We are 50 or 100 years lagging from what terrestrial weather is in terms of prediction", Martínez Pillet said.

Instrument Manager for the magnetometer, Helen O'Brien, said: "We just witnessed a attractive launch". In addition, the instruments on Ulysses, which was launched in 1990, were not as sensitive as those on the current mission. It has been quiet for more than ten years. 9, the most recent exertion in what researchers are calling a "golden age" for examining the sun.



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