Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'That's hot!': NASA probe to explore the Sun

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to launch the mundanely-named "Solar Probe+" (pronounced "Solar Probe Plus") in 2015 on a seven-year mission to explore the Sun.

The solar-powered probe will come within 7 million km (4.35 million miles) of the Sun, and is being designed to withstand temperatures exceeding 1400 degrees Celsius (2550 degrees Fahrenheit). That's hot.

Scientists hope to answer two solar mysteries: Why the temperature in the Sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, is millions of times hotter than the surface of the Sun, and why the velocity of the Sun's "wind" increases the further it gets out into the solar system.

According to NASA, "Solar Probe+'s repeated plunges into the corona will be accomplished by means of Venus flybys. The spacecraft will swing by Venus seven times in six years to bend the probe's trajectory deeper and deeper into the sun's atmosphere."

Isn't that the technique both Captain Kirk and Superman used to travel back in time?

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  1. Very old joke: A NASA scientist and an Israeli scientist are talking about their respective countries' space exploration programs in the mid-1960's. The NASA scientist says proudly: "The United States is going to visit the Moon by the year 1969." The Israeli scientist says, "That's nothing. We are going to visit the Sun in the next ten years." The NASA scientist is incredulous: "The heat, the solar wind, the burning could you possibly survive such a trip?" The Israeli scientist says, "Easy. We'll go at night."

  2. WS,
    Know what I really like about you? Your headline writing.
    A true gift.

  3. Appears NASA really found water on MARS.

  4. Appears NASA really found water on MARS.

    Yes, they found ice and salt deposits.

    Seems the only thing we need now is lime and tequila...

  5. SQ, don't encourage him.


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