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Mission to the Sun: European ship to make unpublished images to unveil its mysteries – 25.04.2019

The sun looks like a yellow disk with constant brightness, but the reality is more complex: it emits high levels of radiation, has a large number of spots, and forcibly ejects particles that can reach the Earth. The European Space Agency (ESA), with an acronym in English, will try to uncover its mysteries: the 2020 mission will begin Solar orbit, designed to better understand how the sun works and how the solar storms affect the Earth and the entire solar system.

Daniel Sanchez, Head of Mission of the Earth Sciences Division, said in a press release from Europe Press that what will be one of the main milestones of the mission, although it will not be the first, near the mission. astro (this landmark was abducted by Parker Solar Probe, NASA), Yes, it will be the first one to watch the solar poles, as it will carry on board telescopes. "We hope never before to see images of the sun's poles", says Sanchez.

ESB's Orbiter solar probe, during preliminary tests in Germany. (ESA)

ESB's Orbiter solar probe, during preliminary tests in Germany. (ESA)

Solar Orbiter will be equipped with antennas, detectors, sensors and nine telescopes. And you will have thermal shield Made of titanium, carbon fiber, thermal blankets and even animal bone cover to withstand very high temperatures.

The scientist was cautious when asked to compare the images produced by the Sun with the first real black hole image – an event that is a big step for science, thus confirming "one of the pillars of Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics." But he said the audiovisual material for the star will help you better understand how the stars work,

"While we have very clear scientific goals for the mission, the final impact of this type of project is always difficult to predict because of its very nature. a scientific study of the unknownThe SAA wants the mission to capture 180 kilometer widths (the width of the visible disk of the Sun is 1.4 million kilometers).

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Due to technical difficulties, the mission is delayed by three years. Now, scientists have confirmed, it has a launch date: it will be in February 2020 The European ship will mainly deal with one issue: how the sun creates and controls the heliosphere, an area of ​​interstellar space around the Sun, where its influence is greater than that of other neighboring stars.

The sun is formed a kind of balloon in the interstellar environment where there are all the planets filled with radiation and the particles thrown out of the sun that make up the solar wind – explains the scientist from ESA. Every few hours or days furious phenomena related to the magnetic field of the Sun near its surface, causing explosions that drive larger quantities of particles and electromagnetic radiation in the interplanetary environment. They are usually called solar storms".

Of all these phenomena, the most violent causes the solar wind to change its intensity and otherwise interact with the Earth's magnetic field. "This is the field of space exploration that describes the effects of the most energetic phenomena of the Sun on Earth and on the infrastructures we have in space (such as communications or navigation satellites)," he said.

Illustration of the Solar Orbital Mission. (NASA)

Illustration of the Solar Orbital Mission. (NASA)

The solar orbiter will try to understand why the solar wind accelerates to 800 kilometers per second or why the crown is heating up to between 1 and 2 million degrees, said Yannis Zuganelis, vice-scholar

Also, a pending issue, since Solar Physics was born about 170 years ago, is why the Sun has a cycle of 11 yearsadded Sanchez.

More than 500 degrees Celsius

To make observations of the solar poles, the probe will take its telescopes to almost a quarter of the distance from the Sun's Earth. "The closest approach to the Sun will be around 42 million kilometers, closer to Mercury, the planet closest to the star, Sanchez says.

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This proximity to the star will mean can withstand temperatures above 500ºCfor which the ship has a thermal shield specially designed to operate under these conditions. "This means, along with the development of solar panels and communication antennas, which also have to withstand very high temperatures, technological challenge of the first level"says the expert, who also admits that the fact that the shield should have special openings so the telescopes can take pictures has complicated the challenge.

"The key, according to Sanchez, is that all that needs to be done on wheels is to keep instruments at very low temperatures compatible with on-board electronics and detectors, "Some of them need even temperatures below zero", "This is achieved by the ship always targeting the Sun and connecting tools with radiators installed in the outer parts of the ship, which are always in the shade to evacuate the heat in space," he says.

ESB's Orbiter solar probe, during preliminary tests in Germany. (ESA)

ESB's Orbiter solar probe, during preliminary tests in Germany. (ESA)

To the high temperatures are added variations on the trajectory to which the ship will follow. In order to be able to observe the sun's poles, the Solar Orbiter must follow a trajectory tilted with respect to the plane in which the planets move, and in order to attain it, the ship has passed several times very close to Venus to take advantage of its gravity to tilt even the orbit of the Solar Orbital around the Sun. "This means a very elliptical orbit that brings it closer to the Sun than Mercury, but it also distributes it more than Venus, with subsequent temperature changes," he says.

On the other hand, the ship will sometimes move away to nearly 300 million kilometers from Earth, which means that "communications at this distance are much slower "When we have the best and worst download rates, we have a factor of 25 that makes us plan the observations very carefully," he says.

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"We know a lot about the Sun, how energy is generated in the nucleus through nuclear fusion reactions to how energy spreads out, and we know a lot of details about how it developed and how it will grow old. , especially for energy phenomena in the most superficial layers they are result of unknown phenomena"- concludes the researcher.

The mission will be controlled by the European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt (Germany) using ESA's Malargüe ground station located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As far as the scientific activities are concerned, they will be managed by the ESAC in Madrid (Spain).

Source: DPA and EFE

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