NASA mission to the Sun

19 Mar 2012

At ... namely, the Solar Probe Plus mission and a piece of electronic wizardry being assembled by Justin Kasper - eyes across 100 million miles of space. Within 7 years the planned mission will journey to the centre of the solar system in order to study the solar wind. It will address key points - how does the corona heat to a phenomenal degree and what powers the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that flows from the corona. I don't suppose many SIS stalwarts will still be around in 2018 - but this is perhaps one of the most exciting of NASA missions (and there have been a host of really exciting ones going before). Data gathering instruments will be sheltered from blinding light and blazing heat by an 8 foot carbon composite shield. They will capture samples of solar wind particles - electrons, protons and helium ions, measure high energy particles and map the Sun's electric and magnetic fields (and yes, it actually says electric), and pick up radio and shock waves passing through the plasma - as well as take images of the corona.

Meanwhile, at (the same story is at well, it's official now, according to new experiments, the ICARUS at the Gran Sasso Laboratory, using a new measuring technique and working seperately from the earlier scientists (to avoid contagion?) who had made the controversial claims, neutrinos do not move faster than light. All very predictable - a lot of people with satisfied looks on their faces.