NASA’s Paker Solar Probe is currently in stage two of its mission, and just recently, it managed to capture solar winds for the first time. It’s set to become the first spacecraft to fly into the low solar corona and will assess the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s coronal plasma, magnetic field, the energy flow that heats the solar corona as well as the mechanisms that accelerate energetic particles. Read more for the video and additional information.
The probe will travel multiple times within Mercury’s orbit for additional observations and since it’s required to fly so close to the sun, extreme heat shielding is required so the instruments do not get damaged by radiation. Just how much shielding? Well, the heat shield is so dense that even a blowtorch won’t even leave marks.
“The data we’re seeing from Parker Solar Probe’s instruments is showing us details about solar structures and processes that we have never seen before. Flying close to the sun — a very dangerous environment — is the only way to obtain this data, and the spacecraft is performing with flying colors,” said Nour Raouafi, the project scientist of the Parker Solar Probe mission.