NASA SunRISE mission: Satellites lined up for launch | Tech News

NASA SunRISE mission: Satellites lined up for launch

NASA has readied the first small satellites to be used for the sunRISE mission.

| Updated on: Aug 12 2022, 17:06 IST
What is an Asteroid? NASA defines what these dangerous objects in sky are
NASA SunRISE mission
1/5 An asteroid is a small, rocky object hurtling through the sky. When seen in a telescope, an asteroid appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt. (Pixabay)
NASA SunRISE mission
2/5 Asteroids have several shapes, they may be spherical, elongated, or oddly shaped. Some asteroids even have their own satellites! Asteroids also vary in size. From Vesta, the largest at about 530 kilometers in diameter, to asteroids that are less than 10 meters in diameter, they can be found in all shapes and sizes. (Pixabay)
NASA SunRISE mission
3/5 Asteroids are also called minor planets. These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago. According to NASA, the current known asteroid count is 1,113,527. (HT_PRINT)
NASA SunRISE mission
4/5 Asteroids can potentially threaten life on Earth. Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction, with the most famous means of world destruction being asteroids crashing into Earth. (Pixabay)
NASA SunRISE mission
5/5 To counter this, NASA had readied itself to potentially defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids by preparing the DART mission. It involves smashing a spacecraft into an oncoming asteroid at a speed of nearly 23,000kph. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction. (NASA)
NASA SunRISE mission
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The NASA SunRISE mission to study solar particles will launch in 2024. (NASA)

The NASA SunRISE mission, which stands for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, is an upcoming mission expected to launch in 2024 to study and pinpoint how giant bursts of energetic particles originate from the Sun and evolve as they expand outward into space.

Now, NASA has rolled out the first small satellites which will be used in conjunction as individual radio sensors during this mission. Jim Lux, SunRISE project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California said, “It's really exciting to see the space vehicles coming together.”

What is the SunRISE mission?

According to NASA, the SunRISE mission will have a radio telescope in orbit with an array of six toaster-size CubeSats that will work together to study solar activity. The mission will observe low radio frequency emissions to better understand the generation of Solar Storms as well as other explosive space events. This research will help scientists forecast space weather, improve our understanding of how our Sun works, and may apply to studies of other stars.

NASA says the six CubeSats will span roughly six miles across and fly slightly above geosynchronous orbit at 22,000 miles from Earth's surface.

Joseph Lazio, SunRISE project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, “The unique formation of the CubeSats gives us a detailed view of the Sun that will help us figure out how high energy particle radiation is initiated and accelerated near the Sun and how it affects interplanetary space.”

“Studying the radio waves that precede solar particle storms could potentially help us create an early warning system,” he further added.

Scientists will create a huge aperture radio telescope as wide as the distance between the small satellites are farthest in distance with the help of the small satellites via the Deep Space Network. Due to the SunRISE telescope being in space, it will be able to observe the wavelengths that are generally impossible to observe from Earth because of the presence of the Ionosphere.

It will enable scientists to pinpoint bursts of solar radio and in turn, create 3D maps and pinpoint the exact location of the event. Justin Kasper, SunRISE principal investigator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said, "These high-energy solar particles can jeopardise unprotected astronauts and technology. By tracking the radio bursts associated with these events, we can be better prepared and informed.”

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First Published Date: 12 Aug, 17:06 IST