NASA's mission to 'touch the sun' surprises during first data delivery

  • 05/08/2019
NASA's mission to 'touch the sun' surprises during first data delivery

Currently, a small spacecraft is flying around the Sun, conducting movements faster than any other human-made object ever flew. The ship, famous as the Parker Solar Probe, is getting closer to the anniversary of its release on August 12th and is still conducting quite a few stellar examinations. After two flights, Parker dumps information to Earth so that scientists can study it - and this exceeds the investigators' estimations.

In a blog post on August 1, investigators from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which created the spacecraft, claimed that the Parker solar battery delivered 22 GB of information since the second collision with the sun had ended on May 6, and it showed more advanced results than a preliminary assessment. The amount of information was 50% more than the investigators had previously wanted to see.

"As we learned more about operating in this environment and these orbits, the team did a great job of increasing data downloads of the information gathered by the spacecraft's amazing instrument," said Nickalaus Pinkine, a missions operator at JHAPL.

Since the release, Parker controllers could optimize the way they loaded information, and now they anticipate to get another 25 GB of science directly from the Small Solar Spacecraft, which could be between July 24 and August 15.

We have never had a probe so near to the Sun, so the evaluation that scientists now estimate on the ground have never met before. Parker's four instruments are capable of measuring components in the atmosphere of the Sun, its magnetic fields, the solar wind, and how electrons, protons and ions spill out of a hot plasma ball. A large cross section of new information will largely expand our knowledge of the sun and its influence throughout the solar system.

The next meeting of the probe with the Sun is going to begin on August 27, and the closest approach to it will be on September 1. On December 26, he will fly past Venus a second time, picking up speed and preparing for reconciliation. The sun is in even closer orbit.

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