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‘Parker Solar Probe Is Crossing New Frontiers of Space Exploration’

Nov. 12, 2019 (EIRNS)—-NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP) team released to the public today scientific data that have been collected during the mission so far. The data include data files and graphic displays, which can be analyzed, manipulated or plotted any way desired, and are available to anyone with access to the internet. The data have been collected by NASA Space Physics Facility, the Solar Data Analysis Center, and the APL Parker Solar Probe Gateway, and the Science Operation Centers of the four science investigation teams (the University of California, Berkeley; Princeton University; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Naval Research Laboratory). The scientific teams have been eagerly poring over the wealth of data compiled so far by the Probe, and are preparing to release the mission’s first scientific results later this year.

“Parker Solar Probe is crossing new frontiers of space exploration, giving us so much new information about the Sun,” said Parker Solar Probe Project Scientist Nour E. Raouafi, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, which manages the mission for NASA. “Releasing [these] data to the public will allow them not only to contribute to the success of the mission along with the scientific community, but also to raise the opportunity for new discoveries to the next level.” It is noteworthy that many astronomical breakthroughs, such as the discovery of Pluto, were accomplished by citizen-scientists, and it is outstanding that NASA and its associated partners have historically encouraged the participation of the public in new scientific research.

The PSP, launched in 2018, has made only three orbits so far, of a planned 24; at its closest pass in the coming years, the PSP will come within 4 million miles of the Sun’s surface—closer than any spacecraft before—and is designed to withstand the enormous heat and radiation at such a distance. The mission will provide unique data about how the solar corona functions and overall solar activity, and these will contribute significantly to mankind’s ability to forecast major space weather events that affect life on Earth, and later, missions to the Moon.

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