NASA's Parker Solar Probe Sends Back First Set of Data

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Sends Back First Set of Data

The Parker Solar Probe was launched in August 2018 on a seven-year mission, targeting the constant stream of highly charged plasma leaving the sun, called the solar wind, and the star's outer atmosphere called the corona

Fremont, CA: A host of scientific data on the sun collected by NASA's Parker Solar Probe has been made available to the public. The data was collected during the probe's first two closest passes to the sun. The flyboys took the spacecraft closer to the sun than any other previous carrier in history, allowing scientists an incredible opportunity to learn more about our star.

"Parker Solar Probe is crossing new frontiers of space exploration, giving us so much new information about the sun," said Nour E. Raouafi, Parker Solar Probe project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "Releasing this data to the public will allow them not only to contribute to the success of the mission along with the scientific community but also to raise the opportunity for new discoveries to the next level."

The Parker Solar Probe was launched in August 2018 on a seven-year mission, targeting the constant stream of highly charged plasma leaving the sun, called the solar wind, and the star's outer atmosphere called the corona. In order to study this phenomenon, the relevant data needs to be collected from as close to the sun as possible for better accuracy. The Parker probe collects its data from a distance of 23 million miles from the sun.

The probe also carries four science experiments on board, namely, Fields Experiment, which studies electric and magnetic fields, Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun, which measures high-energy charged particles in the solar wind and corona, Wide-Field Imager for Solar Probe, which images the solar wind and other structures, and Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons Investigation, which measures different types of particles in the solar wind.

The first two flybys were made between October 21 - November 12, 2018, and March 30 - April 19, 2019. Scientists were able to send back more data during the second flyby due to better data return rates than expected. The third flyby has already been completed, and the data is being processed. NASA believes that the full-fledged scientific results of the data collected from the first two flybys should be ready by the end of the year. The next flyby has been scheduled for January 29, 2020.

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