US-Europe Solar Orbiter probe was launched on Sunday night from Florida on the way to deepen our understanding of the Sun and how to shape the impact of space weather that technology back on Earth.
Mission, a collaboration between the ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA, successfully blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral at 23:03 (0403 GMT Monday) and can last up to nine years or even more.
Scientists say the craft is expected to provide unprecedented insight into the atmosphere of the Sun, wind and magnetic field, including how to form the heliosphere, a large swath of space that includes our system.
By traveling out of the ecliptic plane – the belt of space roughly parallel to the equator the Sun, through which the planets orbit – it will get the first picture of the polar regions uncharted our star.
Drawing on the gravity of the Earth and Venus, Solar Orbiter will slingshot him into a bird’s eye view of the poles of the sun.
“I think it was a perfect picture, suddenly you really feel like you’re connected with the rest of the solar system,” says Daniel Müller, ESA project scientist, shortly after the launch.
“You’re on Earth and you launch something that will go close to the Sun.”
“We have one common goal and that is to get a good knowledge of this mission. I think we will succeed,” added Holly Gilbert, director of NASA’s division heliophysics science.
Ten state-of-the-art instruments on board will record observations myriad of instructions help scientists open about what drives the solar wind and flares.
billions of charged particles emit high impact the Earth, producing the spectacular northern lights. But they also can interfere with radar systems, radio networks and even, though rarely, made useless satellites.
The solar storm on record to hit North America in September 1859, knocking out many continental telegraph network and bathing the sky in the aurora can be seen as far as the Caribbean.
“People are increasingly dependent on what happens in space, and therefore we are more dependent on what Sun did,” said Etienne Pariat, a researcher at the CNRS in Paris observatory.
“Imagine if just half of our satellite is destroyed,” added Matthieu Berthomier, a researcher at the Plasma Physics Laboratory based in Paris. “It would be a disaster for mankind.”