Preparing for Discovery With NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, Data From First Solar Encounter Received
By NASA // December 13, 2018
Parker Solar Probe completed its first solar encounter phase
(NASA) – Weeks after Parker Solar Probe made the closest-ever approach to a star, the science data from the first solar encounter is just making its way into the hands of the mission’s scientists.
It’s a moment many in the field have been anticipating for years, thinking about what they’ll do with such never-before-seen data, which has the potential to shed new light on the physics of our star, the Sun.
On Dec. 12, 2018, four such researchers gathered at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C., to share what they hope to learn from Parker Solar Probe.
“Heliophysicists have been waiting more than 60 years for a mission like this to be possible,” said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Heliophysics is the study of the Sun and how it affects space near Earth, around other worlds and throughout the solar system.
“The solar mysteries we want to solve are waiting in the corona.”
From Oct. 31 to Nov. 11, 2018, Parker Solar Probe completed its first solar encounter phase, speeding through the Sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — and collecting unprecedented data with four suites of cutting-edge instruments.
Parker Solar Probe is named for Eugene Parker, the physicist who first theorized the existence of the solar wind — the Sun’s constant outpouring of material — in 1958.
“This is the first NASA mission to be named for a living individual,” said Fox.
“Gene Parker’s revolutionary paper predicted the heating and expansion of the corona and solar wind. Now, with Parker Solar Probe we are able to truly understand what drives that constant flow out to the edge of the heliosphere.”
CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE ON NASA
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS