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NASA's Solar Probe Will Like It HOT

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 4 comments

 

Baltimore (MD) - NASA and Johns Hopkins University engineers and scientists are developing a new spacecraft that will fly closer to the Sun than any other man-made object. The NASA Solar Probe is due to launch in 2015 and costs a cool $750 million. Its mission will be to study the causes of solar storms which can knock out satellites and harm astronauts.

The $750 million craft will have to withstand 2600 degrees Fahrenheit and while this sounds hot, it’s nowhere near the staggering 1.8 million degrees of the Sun’s corona or the 11,000 degrees on the surface. NASA also wants to discover why the corona is so much hotter than the surface.

Read more ... CNN.

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  • 1 Hide
    SirCrono , May 21, 2008 8:47 PM
    You could have stated the temps in Celsius...

    And knowing the cause of solar flares won't stop them, they should invest more in EM shieldeng instead.
  • -1 Hide
    sublifer , May 21, 2008 9:17 PM
    Now I don't know for certain but I would start with it being hotter in the corona since that is where "the reaction" takes place, then from there, the reaction behaves like water boiling in a pot... gas is formed on the surface of the pan (some material in or near the corona for which the gas has an affinity for) and when the pocket of gas gets large enough to escape that affinity it bubbles to the surface to release its payload causing the solar flare and resulting solar storms.
    The causes seem simple, its the details that need to be hammered out. Then doing something about it from that end would be idiotic as that is _part_ of the sun's processes. Don't mess with that. Not ever. As the other guy mentioned, look into better shielding instead. It would be a much more fruitful (and cost effective) endeavor.
  • 2 Hide
    lightfoot__ , May 21, 2008 9:29 PM
    It is called pure science. No practical purpose (yet).
  • 0 Hide
    jabliese , May 22, 2008 5:45 PM
    Want temperatures in Celsius? OK, how about really-freaking-hot C and unbelievably-freaking-hot C.

    And, dunno about the rest of you, but I'm convinced sublifer is indeed smarter than all the scientists studying the Sun these days. But please answer a couple questions for me, where is the pan the Sun is sitting in? And where is the fire under the pan?

    Finally, lightfoot, this does indeed have a practical purpose. The more we know about the causes of solar storms, the better we can predict them. The better we can predict solar storms, the less chance an astronaut is caught outside his vehicle during a storm. The better chance satellites can go into a "safe mode" for extra protection from solar storms.

    Ah, for the good old days, when "Its mission will be to study the causes of solar storms which can knock out satellites and harm astronauts." would have been enough of an explanation, with the readership being willing to go and do their own research into solar storms and how they can harm astronauts and satellites.

    Dang, must be in a cynical mood today.