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September 04, 2010

NASA Prepares Solar Probe Plus for 2018 Launch

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NASA's Solar Probe Plus will be an extraordinary and historic mission, exploring what is arguably the last region of the solar system to be visited by a spacecraft, the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona as it extends out into space.
Solar Probe Plus is a Nasa designed mission to go to 8.5 solar radii above the surface of the sun.

Five science projects, with a total of $180 million in budget, related to Solar Probe Plus have been announced.

Five Solar Probe Science Projects

* Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons Investigation: the project will capture particles in the sun's atmosphere, such as electrons, protons and helium ions, into a specially designed cup and will directly measure their properties.
* Wide-field Imager: a telescope will take 3-D images of the solar corona, including three-dimensional images of clouds and radiation shocks as they approach and travel past the spacecraft.
* Fields Experiment: this experiment involves the direct measurement of electric and magnetic fields, radio emissions and shock waves that course through the sun's atmospheric plasma. The experiment will also serve as a giant dust detector, registering voltage signatures as space dust hits the spacecraft's antenna.
* Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun: two instruments will take an inventory of elements in the sun's atmosphere using a mass spectrometer to weigh and sort ions in the vicinity of the spacecraft.
* Heliospheric Origins with Solar Probe Plus: directed by the mission's observatory scientist Marco Velli, the aim of this project is to provide an independent assessment of the scientific performance of the overall mission.

Solar Probe Plus is part of the Living With a Star (LWS) program emphasizes the science necessary to understand those aspects of the Sun and the Earth's space environment that affect life and society

There was a 167 page document that reviewed the proposed design of the Solar Probe Plus mission.

Solar probe plus was examined at this site towards the end of this article on Dyson bubbles and Statites.



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