NASA selects two new missions to study the Sun: PUNCH and TRACERS


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NASA unveiled on Friday (21) that it has chosen two new missions to study the Sun and further understand its effect on the Solar System. The first (PUNCH) will study how the star pours particles and energy into our system, and the second (TRACERS) will check Earth's response to all of this.

About PUNCH, an acronym for Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere, this mission will feature British scientists to build four spacecraft that will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun's outer atmosphere – known as the solar corona. The idea is to understand how the crown evolves into the heliosphere, the gigantic bubble created by the solar wind that extends beyond Pluto.

By understanding better how this process works, the idea is to improve the science behind the prediction of space weather, as space weather events can disrupt electrical networks, telecommunications and satellite systems in general. The mission will provide, in real time, three-dimensional images extremely accurate for this.

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The TRACERS mission, the acronym for Tandem Reconnection and the Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites, will be released as a secondary burden with PUNCH. The mission will observe particles and fields in the magnetic region of the Earth's north, where field lines guide particles from the boundary between the Earth's magnetic field and interplanetary space. TRACERS will then study how the magnetic fields around our planet interact with the Sun.

The PUNCH mission is led by Craig DeForest of the Southwest Research Institute, and will cost up to $ 165 million. The TRACERS mission is led by Craig Kletzing of the University of Iowa and will be funded for up to $ 115 million. NASA plans to launch in August 2022.

Source: NASA

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