After a month in orbit, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which was launched to touch the sun has sent the first images, as proof of the reliability of its instruments.
The probe made initial observations and sent data from each of its four instrument groups installed on the spacecraft. These images are intended to gather measurements of what happens in the solar wind closer to Earth, the US space agency said in a statement.
The instruments work together to measure electric and magnetic fields around the sun, the particles of the Sun and the solar wind by capturing images of the environment around the spacecraft.
Nour Raouafi, the principal scientist of the project, points out that all the instruments yielded data. “These not only serve for calibration but also capture flashes of what we expect to measure near the Sun to solve the mysteries of the solar atmosphere: the corona”, Raouafi explained.
The first Narrow approach to touch the Sun mission will be in November 2018, but even now, the instruments can collect measurements of what is happening in the solar wind closer to Earth.
After three failed attempts, NASA managed on August 12 to launch the spacecraft Parker, whose main objective is to get as close as possible to the Sun. It will hopefully reach the closest point of the star in 2025.