Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA Plans Probe to the Sun

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the hope-they-bring-suntan-lotion dept.

Space 352

FudRucker writes "For more than 400 years, astronomers have studied the sun from afar. Now NASA has decided to go there. 'We are going to visit a living, breathing star for the first time,' says program scientist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA Headquarters. 'This is an unexplored region of the solar system and the possibilities for discovery are off the charts.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wait. I saw this... (4, Funny)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751269)

Airplane 2.

"Bend over..." (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751585)

"This won't hurt you as much as it hurts me!"

Re:Wait. I saw this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751721)

Please mod up... this is not off topic I saw it too.

Don't worry NASA is not stupid. (5, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752131)

NASA knows the probe will burn up in the sun, so that's why they plan to land it at night.

Okay? (3, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751273)

And how exactly do you plan to do that? Do we have any material that won't melt under the intense heat?

Re:Okay? (5, Funny)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751297)

It's easy, we'll just go at night

Re:Okay? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751567)

My first thought when I saw the headline was "look for the setup and deliver the old joke". Apparently I wasn't the only one thinking like that. Well done to both of you (I'm pretty sure the setup was intentional).

Re:Okay? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751861)

There were hundreds of us wanting the be the person who posted the punchline...

There's a better way! (4, Funny)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751955)

Pffft. Everyone knows you should use metaphasic shielding [memory-alpha.org] .

Re:Okay? (0, Redundant)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751313)

It's obvious - they will land on the Sun at night!

Re:Okay? (-1, Redundant)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751323)

And how exactly do you plan to do that? Do we have any material that won't melt under the intense heat?
Oh, that's easy. They send the probe at night. (okay, stupid old joke, but I couldn't resist)

Re:Okay? (3, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751325)

One could dissipate heat by having hundreds of monofilament wires to wick the heat away from such craft. Doing that should provide more time for the sensor array to gather and transmit more data.

Of course, we could select Tom Cruise and other scientologists as crew.

Re:Okay? (3, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751435)

wick the heat "where"? The area around the sun is "all" over several thousand degrees, the size of those wires would have to be measured in hundreds of miles.

Re:Okay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23752011)

The principle heat transfer mechanism in space is radiative. You wick the heat to the 180 degrees of the universe around the probe that isn't filled by the sun, you wick it out into space.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity. (3, Informative)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752055)

Seriously, though, it's not quite that simple. "The area around the sun" is very hot, but it's not very dense. IANAThermalEngineer, but I imagine they have one or two at NASA, and I'm guessing that they can come up with some kind of effective radiative cooling system. (Though perhaps they'll just rely on a Thermal Protective System (aka "heat shield"), like they did for the original Solar Probe [nasa.gov] .)

Re:Okay? (2, Informative)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752031)

Can we vote that you join the crew too for having that stupid signature. (Note: No I didn't click it)

Re:Okay? (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752287)

Before you get modded Off-Topic, I'll say the links are funny and clever. Glad you weren't fooled by them too! ;) I used to pull that stunt all the time in an old vBull forum I haunted. Just build a cool looking, dare-you-not-to-click-me front end to the logout link. Simple *and* funny. It's worth it just to have one stupid person accidentally log out. Imagine a world like that...

And to be on-topic:

Three words: giant oven mitts!

Re:Okay? (5, Informative)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751359)

And how exactly do you plan to do that? Do we have any material that won't melt under the intense heat?
It isn't that hot. The surface is merely 5800 K. We achieve and contain that sort of temperature on a regular basis here on earth.

The problem isn't to contain such a temperature, but to do it in a way that is compatible with space travel (i.e. not involving heavy and brittle insulation.)

Re:Okay? (1, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751537)

We just have to invent the forcefield.

Re:Okay? (0, Redundant)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751615)

> It isn't that hot

The sun's surface is at least 1x hotter than the surface of the sun.

Re:Okay? (4, Informative)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751799)

Yes the surface is only around 5800K, hot enough to melt any known material. But the corona surrounding the surface is over 10^6K. I'm curious how they intend to handle such intense energy. Not just heat energy, but insane amounts of radiation across the spectrum. This will be quite interesting from an engineering standpoint.

Re:Okay? (5, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751867)

Since the corona isn't dense enough for the heat to be a problem, all they have to worry about is the radiation. Since that's all coming from the same direction, they can just hide behind something (the thing labeled "thermal shield" in the picture).

Re:Okay? (4, Funny)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752017)

Ugh, I barely like corona when it is ice cold...that has got to taste awful.

But I guess if they can figure out how to bottle it and get it back to earth, then I guess that will change the whole "free as in beer" saying.

Re:Okay? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752271)

The other problem is how to cool the probe. No matter how well you insulate the probe it will very quickly over heat because there is no way to dump the heat the probe it's self generates.
Stick any electronics into a sealed well insulated case and see just how long it stays running.

Re:Okay? (2, Interesting)

Felgerkarb (695336) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752163)

As mentioned before, the corona is much much hotter than the surface. But still not an issue in this case. From the FTA:

"At closest approach, Solar Probe+ will be 7 million km or 9 solar radii from the sun. There, the spacecraft's carbon-composite heat shield must withstand temperatures greater than 1400o C and survive blasts of radiation at levels not experienced by any previous spacecraft."
Still lots of engineering issues, though.

Re:Okay? (3, Informative)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751413)

No, what we need is some sort of material that can reflect away the radiation, and also has a ridiculously high specific heat. Hmmm, what could we use to reflect electromagnetic radiation... hmmm, something reflective... what do have that's reflective? Anyone?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:TPScube.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Re:Okay? (1, Informative)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751475)

Yea we do, the outer layers aren't much hotter than say the core of a nuclear reactor. Of course dissipating excess heat will be impossible so its not going to last very long.

Re:Okay? (5, Informative)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751653)

No. Not Really.
And certainly not at the temperature of the Sun's corona (which probes will most likely have to travel through to get to the inner 'cooler' layers..)
This is where we need 'shielding' technology similar to Star Trek, or to jump physical dimensions directly into the desired location with technology similar to Event Horizon, etc..

"The coolest layer of the Sun is a temperature minimum region about 500 km above the photosphere, with a temperature of about 4,000 K." ... "Above the temperature minimum layer is a thin layer about 2,000 km thick, dominated by a spectrum of emission and absorption lines. It is called the chromosphere..." ... "Above the chromosphere is a transition region in which the temperature rises rapidly from around 100,000 K to coronal temperatures closer to one million K." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun [wikipedia.org]

"The chemical element with the highest melting point is tungsten, at 3695 K (3422 C, 6192 F) making it excellent for use as filaments in light bulbs. The often-cited carbon does not melt at ambient pressure but sublimates at about 4000 K; a liquid phase only exists above pressures of 10 MPa and estimated 4300-4700 K. Tantalum hafnium carbide (Ta4HfC5) is a refractory compound with a very high melting point of 4488 K (4215 C, 7619 F)" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_point [wikipedia.org]
Even diamonds are not tough enough... Above 1700 C (1973 K / 3583 F) diamonds are converted into graphite.

Re:Okay? (4, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751905)

Even diamonds are not tough enough... Above 1700 C (1973 K / 3583 F) diamonds are converted into graphite.

I guess I need to buy a pack of pencils and throw them in the freezer. I'll be rich overnight!

Re:Okay? (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752095)

Even diamonds are not tough enough... Above 1700 C (1973 K / 3583 F) diamonds are converted into graphite.
But, diamond is one of the hardest metals (If not THE hardest metal) known the man!

Re:Okay? (2, Insightful)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751935)

RTFA.

"At closest approach, Solar Probe+ will be 7 million km or 9 solar radii from the sun. There, the spacecraft's carbon-composite heat shield must withstand temperatures greater than 1400 degrees C and survive blasts of radiation at levels not experienced by any previous spacecraft."

Re:Okay? (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752153)

No, just a big heatsink.

Re:Okay? (2, Informative)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752193)

And how exactly do you plan to do that? Do we have any material that won't melt under the intense heat?
From TFA:

At closest approach, Solar Probe+ will be 7 million km or 9 solar radii from the sun. There, the spacecraft's carbon-composite heat shield must withstand temperatures greater than 1400 C
In short: don't get close enough to melt.

Can we (5, Funny)

Diss Champ (934796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751289)

select a few of our favorite people as crew for that mission?

Re:Can we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751631)

select a few of our favorite people as crew for that mission?
How many of twitters sock puppets can we get on board?

Re:Can we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751709)

To reward their service to their country all living expresidents should be given spots on the crew.

Re:Can we (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751785)

I nominate G W. Bush.

Sweet!! (2, Funny)

porkUpine (623110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751291)

I volunteer my boss to be the first asshole on the sun!

Don't Worry... (0, Redundant)

Kittoa (218844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751327)

Don't worry about the probe burning up, NASA is sending it at night.

  -Alex

Solar Power (4, Funny)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751335)

I guess providing power to the device via solar power would be a good option.

After all...It will be right next to the source.

Re:Solar Power (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751373)

Won't work, since (as many posts point out) they'll have to send it at night...

Re:Solar Power (1)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752239)

Solar power is green and all, but I'm really concerned about the environmental damage if it crashes.

At least... (0, Offtopic)

tjebe (830017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751345)

they're not planning on probing Uranus! :)

Too bad, in a way (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751487)

If they were, we wouldn't have to read through all these lame jokes about "doing it at night."

Re:Too bad, in a way (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751717)

Jokes about visiting the sun at night vs. goatse

I dunno ... tough call

Foreshadowing, Simpsons style... (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751367)

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

replete... (5, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751387)

Solar Probe+'s repeated plunges into the corona will be accomplished by means of Venus flybys.

...with sexual connotations.

Re:replete... IN the midst of ... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751773)

Super Holes and Black Novas...... I wonder if that probe can find more insight by looking deeper into Uranus...

Pack the sun cream.. (4, Funny)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751389)

SPF Eleventy Million

I AM PINBACKER! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751391)

We have abandoned our mission. Our star is dying. All our science. All our hopes, our... our dreams, are foolish! In the face of this, we are dust, nothing more. Unto this dust, we return. When he chooses for us to die, it is not our place to challenge God!

Think, then open mouth (5, Funny)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751421)

'We are going to visit a living, breathing star for the first time,'
As opposed to all those dead stars we've been visiting recently.

Re:Think, then open mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751591)

anytime you visit anywhere you visit a dead star as everything is the stuff of stars.

Re:Think, then open mouth (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751625)

Well the Earth IS "dead" stardust, and so are you!

Cemetary to the Stars (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752063)

He's obviously a big fan of Forest Lawn [forestlawn.com] .

off the charts (2, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751427)

I would imagine most things would be, as I strongly suspect the charts to burn up prior to impact.

They will land at night! (0, Redundant)

bong rouge (1201651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751433)

Hey, I didn't see anyone say they would land at night!

When? (0, Redundant)

hike2 (550205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751461)

Are they going to go there at night to avoid the heat problem?

Living and breathing? (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751485)

One could say the sun is exhaling, but what's it inhaling?

Re:Living and breathing? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751929)

what's it inhaling?

Anything that gets too close. Gravity is a harsh mistress.

When do they probe... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751509)

... Uranus?

I can't wait to see the headlines for those missions.

wait! (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751511)

They ought to wait for the development of the metaphasic shield [memory-alpha.org] in 2369.

Oblig. (4, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751525)

"That's hot!"

Bad project name (5, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751539)

With NASA's record, they ought to have named this project "Icarus", 'cause that's what will happen to it.

Re:Bad project name (3)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751749)

Naming it 'Daedalus' would be more optimistic, don't you think?

Either way, hopefully they won't build the heat shield out of wax!

Re:Bad project name (2, Interesting)

CarlosHawes (1256490) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752139)

"Icarus" was the name of the spacecraft sent to kick start the sun with a massive nuclear device in the 2007 film "Sunshine" (EXCELLENT movie INHO). At the risk of spoilers, let's just say that all kinds of things go wrong :)

More information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751547)

The article isn't clear... will this be a manned or an unmanned mission?

Re:More information (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752111)

As previously noted it will be a manned mission with Tom Cruise being the only crew.

Name (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751553)

The name of the mission is Solar Probe+; I can't decide whether a name like Icarus would be more appropriate. Then again, naming your project after something that burns up might not be the best idea.

Of course, when the mission is done I would expect them to send the craft into the sun.

Predicted probe results: (5, Funny)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751577)

1) The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
2) A gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees.
3) The sun is hot - the sun it not a place where we can live, but here on Earth there'd be no life without the light it gives.

Re:Predicted probe results: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751765)

Thanks now I have that song stuck in my head

Re:Predicted probe results: (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751767)

1) The sun is a mass of incandescent gas 2) A gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. 3) The sun is hot - the sun it not a place where we can live, but here on Earth there'd be no life without the light it gives.
I don't think the probe is being built by Captain Obvious.

Re:Predicted probe results: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23752161)

So much for The Real World: The Sun

"I'm burning to death!"

that's hot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751587)

I hope the probe has good air conditioning.

isn't the corona really hot? (1, Redundant)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751627)

I know the surface is like 6000C or so, but I thought the corona was in the millions of degrees. I don't see how they'd get anything close enough to it before the corona vapourised it.

If you go here [hypertextbook.com]

there's this data:

"Gas particles in the corona can reach temperatures of up to 1,700,000 ÂC"

- Prentice Hall Earth Science. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1987: 73.

So wouldn't that tend to prevent anything man made from getting near the sun, much less its "surface" / chromosphere?

RS

Re:isn't the corona really hot? (3, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751775)

I know the surface is like 6000C or so, but I thought the corona was in the millions of degrees. I don't see how they'd get anything close enough to it before the corona vapourised it.

If you go here [hypertextbook.com]

[snip]

So wouldn't that tend to prevent anything man made from getting near the sun, much less its "surface" / chromosphere?

RS

From your own link: Though the corona's temperature is high it's molecules are so far apart that the gases release little heat. If a person were to stand on the sun's corona they wouldn't burn, they would freeze in the near vacuum of the corona.

Re:isn't the corona really hot? (2, Informative)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752125)

What about radiant heat?

Re:isn't the corona really hot? (3, Informative)

frogzilla (1229188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751803)

The particles have a high temperature (are moving quickly) but the particle density is low. Therefore the heat will be small. Heat is the flow of energy from a hotter body to a cooler body.

Re:isn't the corona really hot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751881)

Weird, I thought I read that somewhere... where was it... oh yeah, it was the article.

Re:isn't the corona really hot? (2, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751951)

That's a 21-year-old textbook. I think it's had plenty of time to cool off.

Typical Government waste (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751633)

The scientists and astrophysicists themselves agree that the Sun is going to become a Red Giant and it will expand past the orbit of Jupiter. Instead of just setting up the instruments and wait for the Sun to come to us, these typical, arrogant, pie-in-the-sky, ivory tower, disconnected elites are coming up with yet another proposal to tax and spend out tax dollars. Enough!. Just wait. What is 5 billion years to a government program? I ask.

Re:Typical Government waste (5, Funny)

rworne (538610) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752103)

What is 5 billion years to a government program? I ask.

Ahead of schedule?

Well, at least they didn't name the spacecraft... (1)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751639)


...Icarus.


But I bet it was suggested repeatedly.

Nasa obviously needs a larger budget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751719)

http://solarprobe.gsfc.nasa.gov/sp4_fig26.jpg NASA can't even afford broadband. From the looks of things they had to choose a budget dialup connection .

Water on the sun? (2, Funny)

tensop (1232374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751725)

In the news: "NASA Scientists discover trace possibilities of water on the sun, 3 more trips planned"

"Since the beginning of time..." (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751757)

"...man has yearned to destroy the sun"

Yet another waste of taxpayer dollars (-1, Troll)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751759)

Whoopity freaking do. Another overpriced space Roomba blasted to some distant site. I mean, it's not even a manned mission. What a waste.

Re:Yet another waste of taxpayer dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23751979)

Yeah, what are they supposed to be collecting? Information? Haven't they heard, information is supposed to be free, man.

Re:Yet another waste of taxpayer dollars (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752099)

Yeah, just like Tang came out of the Gemini flights, who knows what would result. If this were a manned mission, one possible outcome could be the development of a sun screen lotion with a 10^12 SPF rating.

Have you tasted Tang? (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752207)

It's not exactly a technological advance worth bragging about. It's a little like orange juice, except it's not as good for you and it tastes like android piss. Woo-hoo.

Re:Yet another waste of taxpayer dollars (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752113)

Well, if you want to man this mission then I for one don't see any problem with it.

I'd pack some really good sun screen.

In other news... (1, Funny)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751967)

NASA plans to probe Uranus

This is Just the Beginning! (0)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 6 years ago | (#23751971)

This, of course, is all in preparation for the upcoming 2032 Icarus Mission, where we hope to put the first man on the sun, and determine once and for all whether or not life exists in sunspots. A team of sunwalkers will also investigate the potential for "turning down the sun" as a possible solution to global warming.

They call me Icarus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23752019)

Wouldn't have to be so expensive...give me a set of wax wings with some feathers and I'll handle that.

Generations! (1)

IronMagnus (777535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752047)

..just don't put any trilithium on it k?

Speech by first plankton on the sun: (1)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752051)

"It's a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only our own wave, but plankton of peace of all waves, plankton with interest and curiosity and plankton with vision for the future."

-- John Sladek, The Müller-Fokker Effect. (A very funny SF book)

Soundtrack (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752071)

Fortunately, the incidental music [ufoseries.com] has already been written.

This is bad! (1)

Chameleon Man (1304729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752089)

There are reasons we should stay away from the sun! [pbfcomics.com]

So the gov't.... (1)

mmullings (1142559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752143)

The gov't must have money to burn. I'll take a couple more of those stimulus checks...

"Solar Probe+"? (1)

Teufelsmuhle (849105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752145)

Shouldn't it be "Solar Probe++"?

400 years? (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23752165)

1601CE: "A sun you say.."

4000BCE: "A sun god you say.. hmmm.."

Atlantis: "A blue sun you say.."

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?