New NASA probe will get closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history

June 1, 2017 by  
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Humanity has never before touched the sun , but that’s about to change. NASA is sending the Parker Solar Probe to the sun in 2018, and will get closer to the star’s surface than any other spacecraft in history. They say the landmark mission “will revolutionize our understanding of the sun.” The Parker Solar Probe mission – which NASA describes as humanity’s first visit to a star – will take us closer to the sun than ever before. The probe will need to endure extreme radiation and heat as it ventures into the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. NASA says the Parker Solar Probe will gather information on the corona and on the evolution and origin of solar wind . Related: Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space A 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield will protect the instruments inside the spacecraft from crazy temperatures of around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The various instruments will be able to image solar wind, and study plasma and energetic particles and magnetic fields. Even though we’re around 93 million miles away from the sun on average, solar wind disturbances can affect us here on Earth. They impact what NASA calls space weather, which can interfere with our satellites . NASA says much like the seafarers of old had to learn about the ocean, now we must learn more about the space environment. The mission holds claim to another first: the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person. Once called the Solar Probe Plus, NASA this week renamed the probe for astrophysicist Eugene Parker, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. His work decades ago provided a foundation for much of our knowledge about stars’ interaction with worlds orbiting them. Parker, who will turn 90 this month, said in a statement, “The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before. It’s very exciting that we’ll finally get a look. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what’s going on in the solar wind. I’m sure that there will be some surprises. There always are.” Via NASA ( 1 , 2 ) Images via John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and JHU/APL

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New NASA probe will get closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history

China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump

June 1, 2017 by  
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China and the United States are two of the world’s biggest carbon polluters, and when both entered the Paris Agreement the moves were seen as a win for the rest of the world. But now as President Donald Trump considers leaving, China recently reaffirmed their commitment to the landmark 2015 deal. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the country would stick to the accord regardless of other countries’ changing stances. The news broke on the last day Trump was planning to yank America out of the agreement . He demurred, at first saying he would be making his announcement “ over the new few days ” with the addition of his campaign slogan in all capital letters. Several hours after that tweet he said he’d be announcing his decision on Thursday at 3:00 PM (no time zone given), with another all-caps slogan tacked on. Related: White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement But China isn’t going to wait for the United States. On Thursday they said they’ll remain in the agreement. Hua said in a daily news briefing on Thursday the Paris deal hadn’t been arrived at easily, and served as the international community’s consensus on climate change . She said, “Climate change is a global challenge. No country can place itself outside of this…We are willing to work with all sides to jointly protect the Paris Agreement process, promote the actual rules and regulations of the agreement in follow-up talks and effectively enact them, and promote global green, low carbon, sustainable development .” Hua was asked if China has been discussing the agreement with Trump’s administration and said the two countries “have close communications about a wide variety of topics,” one of which is climate change. Should the United States leave the historic deal they would be in company with Nicaragua and Syria, which are the only two countries so far to not agree to the accord. Leaving the deal would likely hurt America’s relationships with allies abroad, many already on uncertain footing thanks to Trump. Via Reuters Images via Michael Vadon on Flickr and screenshot

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China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump

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