27 April 2012

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UK to build Solar Orbiter (SolO), a spacecraft that will travel closer to the Sun where no one has gone before

 UK to build Solar Orbiter (SolO), a spacecraft that  will travel closer to the Sun where no one has gone before

 Solar Oribter is a joint venture between Esa and the US space agency (Nasa). The latter will supply two instruments and the rocket to send the satellite on its way.

The European Space Agency has signed a contract with Astrium UK to build the Solar Orbiter (SolO) satellite for a launch in 2017.

Contract value is 300m euros (£245m).

Solar Orbiter will take itself deep into the inner Solar System, flying as close as 42 million km from the Sun.

It will require the spacecraft to carry a robust heatshield, the Sun-facing side of which will experience temperatures approaching 600 degrees.

SolO's remote sensing instruments - its imagers and telescopes - will look though slots which have shutters that can be closed when no observations are being made.

Solar Orbiter will be close enough to the Sun to directly sample the solar wind just after it has been ejected from the solar surface, and it has five in-situ instruments for the purpose.

The mission is designed to enhance  understanding of how the Sun influences its environment, and in particular how it generates and accelerates the flow of charged particles in which the planets are bathed.

The probe's orbit will also take it high above the plane of the planets so it can see some of the processes at play on the Sun poles. And the speed of SolO around the star means it will be able to follow events and features that would normally rotate out of view of Earth-based observatories.

Source – BBC

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Tags – Solar Space craft


Steve April 27, 2012  

Stop spending money on this stuff and build a moon base. Or start figuring out how to go to mars. When will it be mine turn for space travel. Won't even be manned due to the environment, distance and they probably don't plan on having it make a return.

cs April 27, 2012  

Interesting. I lol'd at the comment above me about the moon base. Space exploration, while maybe on hold for humans (also the moon), needs to continue to be researched indefinitely.

Jim April 27, 2012  

This is some great news, I hope that the orbiter is built to withstand the intense temperatures of the sun.

Baur April 27, 2012  

I'm for anything that involves becoming more scientifically aware of our universe

Destination Infinity April 27, 2012  

I hope they have a specific mission plan going into this huge project. If they want to just send something (like India did with that moon-rocket thing), they'll end up wasting all the money.

Destination Infinity