Canindia News

Solar Orbiter probe launched to study Sun’s poles

Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) Solar Orbiter, a new collaborative mission between European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to study the Sun’s poles, has been launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida.

Mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, confirmed that it received a signal from the spacecraft 12.24 am on Monday, indicating that its solar panels had successfully deployed.

In the first two days after its Sunday launch, Solar Orbiter will deploy its instrument boom and several antennas that will communicate with Earth and gather scientific data.

Solar Orbiter is on a unique trajectory that will allow its comprehensive set of instruments to provide humanity with the first-ever images of the Sun’s poles, NASA said.

This trajectory includes 22 close approaches to the Sun, bringing the spacecraft within the orbit of Mercury to study the Sun and its influence on space.

“As humans, we have always been familiar with the importance of the Sun to life on Earth, observing it and investigating how it works in detail, but we have also long known it has the potential to disrupt everyday life should we be in the firing line of a powerful solar storm,” said Gunther Hasinger, ESA director of Science.

“By the end of our Solar Orbiter mission, we will know more about the hidden force responsible for the Sun’s changing behaviour and its influence on our home planet than ever before,” Hasinger said.

Solar Orbiter will spend about three months in its commissioning phase, during which the mission team will run checks on the spacecraft’s 10 scientific instruments to ensure they are working properly.

It will take Solar Orbiter about two years to reach its primary science orbit.

The mission combines two main modes of study. In-situ instruments will measure the environment around the spacecraft, detecting such things as electric and magnetic fields and passing particles and waves.

The remote-sensing instruments will image the Sun from afar, along with its atmosphere and its outflow of material, collecting data that will help scientists understand the Sun’s inner workings.

Throughout its mission, Solar Orbiter will use successive Venus gravity assists to draw its orbit closer to the Sun and lift it out of the ecliptic plane, the US space agency said.

–IANS

gb/bc

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN

Airplane-sized asteroid to cross Earth’s orbit on Wednesday

CIEDITOR-TWINKLE

Study reveals why writing by hand makes kids smarter

BP medicine may lower death risk from flu, pneumonia

81% doctors in Northern India adopted telemedicine: Report

NASA launches $5mn competition to find power solutions for Moon

Space station crew narrows down search zone for air leak

New NASA project allows public to search for new worlds

Facebook finally integrates Messenger with Instagram

CanIndia New Wire Service

NASA targets Halloween for next manned SpaceX mission

CanIndia New Wire Service

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Stay up to date with the latest news and exclusive offers directly in your inbox