The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that a new mission will be conducted to study massive solar storms. With the help of the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE), NASA experts will try to explore the mechanics which contribute to the formation and release of the powerful solar particle storms.
It is thought that the information could be used to learn more about the solar system. Future missions that include a crew could also benefit from the data.
SunRISE will include an array of six CubeSats that will work in sync in a fashion similar to a radio telescope. CubeSats are quite popular among researchers since they can be fitted with a rich selection of tools and are powered by solar energy. They also have a small form factor, on par with a regular household toaster.
SunRISE will be the new NASA’s mission to study solar storms
The array will scan the sun regularly, with a focus on low-frequency emission that can be harnessed to construct 3D maps. Such maps can be used to identify the specific area where a solar storm started and to monitor its evolution in time, a goal that has been out of reach in the past.
More than $62 million will be spent on the design, development, and launch of the mission, which will be managed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and overseen by a high-ranking University of Michigan employee. A launch date has been scheduled, with July 1, 2023, being the primary deadline.
Despite recent advancements in technology and especially space technology, a significant amount of hardware remains vulnerable in the face of solar storms, as the high-energy particles can induce catastrophic short-circuits. In the past solar storms have been responsible for issues related to satellite communication and blackouts. New shielding solutions are being developed, and they will be ready for tests in the future.