A contemporary probe has been set off on an expedition to the sun on Sunday to take a first close-up look at the star’s polar regions, it is expected to yield some insights into how the solar radiant energy affects the earth.
The probe is built by NASA and the European Space Agency, the spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:03 pm. ET and commenced a 10-year voyage according to various reports. “This was picture perfect. And suddenly you felt you are connected to the rest of the solar system,” Daniel Mueller, a scientist for ESA who worked on the mission, said after lift-off.
The primary mission of Solar Orbiters is to examine the sun’s polar region which will help in research to acknowledge the origin of the solar wind. The spacecraft will deploy solar panels and antennas before carrying on towards the sun. It will eventually reach as close as 26 million miles from the sun’s surface, or about 72 percent of the distance between the earth and the sun. The mission is also expected to get an insight into how astronauts can be protected from the radiation in space. Solar Orbiter carries 10 instruments packed behind a massive 324-pound heat shield. Three of which will pry through tiny windows to survey how the sun’s surface changes over time.
“I have been in solar physics for many years; I just never thought I would actually witness something come to fruition like this and actually launch. It’s amazing,” said Holly Gilbert of NASA.