NASA’s probe just discovered some new phenomena at the edge of the sun. The Parker Solar Probe was launched back in August 2018, and it managed to rocket around the sun three times.
It got closer to it than any other spacecraft before, and it’s traveling faster than any other human-made object in history, reports BusinessInsider.
Just the other day, NASA revealed the probe’s most important discoveries that it made so far. The space agency published four papers in the journal Nature.
Mysterious plasma activity
This research revealed some never-before-seen activity in the plasma and the energy at the edges of the sun’s atmosphere.
The online publication mentioned above notes that these include “reversals of the sun’s magnetic field and “bursts” in its stream of electrically charged particles, called the solar wind.”
The wind surges into space, and then it washes over our planet. It’s been reported that studying its source could help scientists figure out how to protect astronauts and our planet’s electric grid from violent solar explosions.
With the help of this probe, NASA is able to study this solar wind better than experts here on Earth.
“Imagine that we live halfway down a waterfall, and the water is always flowing past us. It’s very turbulent, chaotic, unstructured, and we want to know what is the source of the waterfall up at the top,” Stuart Bale, a physicist and the leader of the team that investigates the probe’s solar wind data, stated.
He continued and said: “It’s very hard to tell from halfway down.”
Two questions need answers
It’s been also revealed that NASA experts are looking for answers to the following questions:
- What’s accelerating the solar wind?
- Why is the son’s corona (outer layer) up to 500 times hotter than the inner layers?
It’s been revealed that the probe detected some rogue waves of magnetic energy in the solar wind, and the bursts could explain why the corona is so hot.
Head over to the original article in order to learn more details.