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NASA Plane Successfully 'Touch' The Sun for the First Time

 


NASA's spacecraft has officially "touched" the Sun, and plunged into the Sun's unexplored atmosphere known as the corona.

The Parker Solar Probe, NASA's spacecraft, flew through the Sun's corona last April. Scientists say it took several months to get the data back and then a few more months to confirm it.



Launched in 2018, Parker was within 13 million kilometers of the Sun's center when it first crossed the jagged, uneven boundary between the Sun's atmosphere and the outgoing solar wind. The spacecraft entered and exited the corona at least three times. Each of the transitions, scientists say, goes smoothly.



"Parker was moving very fast, covering great distances during that time, traveling at over 100 kilometers per second," said Justin Kasper of the University of Michigan, quoted from Phys.org.


Corona looks dustier than expected. Future visits to the corona will help scientists better understand the origin of the solar wind, and how it is heated and accelerated into space.



Because the Sun has no solid surface, the corona provides a place to explore this magnetically powerful region up close, helping scientists better understand solar explosions that could disrupt life on Earth.


The Parker Solar Probe will continue to approach the Sun and dive deeper into the corona until its final orbit in 2025.

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