“A small step for a man, but a giant leap for humanity,” said astronaut Neil Armstrong 50 years ago. Almost prophetic words that today describe the incredible “jump” of humanity, both as regards knowledge about the Universe and for space exploration. This is not the end: recently a NASA probe “touched” the Sun.
We’re talking about the Parker Solar Probe space probe, which in the past has even become the fastest man-made object ever. NASA’s vehicle has the objective of studying our star, trying to discover its mysteries. Scientists have announced the news in the last few hours, during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
Parker Solar Probe actually flew over the Sun’s crown in April during the 8th close approach of the ship. It took several months to analyze the data and as many to confirm them, but we finally have the answer. This is a “charming and exciting” news, according to Nour Raouafi, a scientist from the Johns Hopkins University project.
Exploring the Sun’s crown – a magnetically intense region – can help scientists better understand solar explosions that can interfere with life here on Earth (and that could even knock out the global internet). According to Raouafi, the crown has appeared more dusty than expected, but future crown excursions will help scientists to better understand the origin of the solar wind.