Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NASA to send a probe to the Sun, what will it find?
CrunchGear, NY - Jun 10, 2008
The mission will be called Solar Probe+ and it could be underway as early as 2015 (provided the earth doesn’t end), taking roughly seven years to complete. ...

by Mitch Battros - Earth Changes Media

Solar Probe+ will be a historic mission, flying into one of the last unexplored regions of the solar system, the Sun's atmosphere or corona, for the first time. It will journey to one of the last unexplored regions of the solar system and reveal how the corona is heated and the solar wind is accelerated, solving two fundamental mysteries that have been top-priority science goals for many decades. The mission described in this study report is based on a rigorous engineering study performed in concert with the Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT).

The described mission is technically feasible, can be accomplished within realistic resources, and can fully achieve all science objectives, thus transforming our understanding of the Sun and its sister Sun-like stars and enabling exploration.

Solar Probe+ will spend a significant amount of time in the near- Sun region, covering more than half of the 11-year solar cycle, with three to four encounters per year. In 24 orbits over the 6.9-year mission duration, the perihelion distance decreases from 35 RS to 9.5 RS. In 21 of the orbits, the distance from the center of the Sun will be less then 30 RS, and in 19 of the orbits, the distance from the center of the Sun will be less than 20 RS. The total accumulated time of Solar Probe+ within the regions of less than 30 RS, 20 RS, 15 RS, and 10 RS is summarized in Table 3.1-1.

(Click Image To Enlarge)

With a May 2015 launch, the Solar Probe+ prime mission will begin near the end of Solar Cycle 24 and end near the predicted maximum of Cycle 25 in 2022. The first near-Sun pass occurs three months after launch, at a heliocentric distance of 35 RS. Over the next several years successive Venus gravity assist (VGA) maneuvers gradually lower the perihelia to 9.5 RS, by far the closest any spacecraft has ever come to the Sun.

The spacecraft completes it nominal mission with three passes, separated by 88 days, at this distance. During these 7 years, Solar Probe+ will spend a total of 961 hours inside 20 RS, 434 hours inside 15 RS, and 30 hours inside 10 RS, sampling the solar wind in all its modalities (slow, fast, variable, transient) as it evolves with rising solar activity toward an increasingly complex structure.

FULL ARTICLE: http://earthchanges media.com/ secure/3247. 326/article- 9162522052. php

PLUTOID: In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced that Pluto is not a planet. So what is it? After two years of careful deliberation, the IAU has an answer: Pluto is a plutoid. No, this is not a joke. The IAU offers "the plutoid" as a serious new category of celestial body. Read all about it in the June 11th press release. [comment]

NASA plans to drop by the sun
Scripps News, DC - 16 hours ago
The agency plans to launch Solar Probe Plus in May 2015, for a seven-year mission that will have the probe slinging around Venus seven times, ...
NASA to visit “living, breathing star for the first time”
iTWire, Australia - Jun 11, 2008
by William Atkins Solar Probe plus is a NASA mission to the Sun that will actually go into the Sun’s atmosphere to take measurements of the solar wind, ...
NASA Plans Probe to the Sun
Slashdot - 19 hours ago
'This is an unexplored region of the solar system and the possibilities for discovery are off the charts.'" The Fine Print: The following comments are owned ...