NASA has selected a new mission called the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms, known as solar particle storms, into the planetary system. According to NASA’s official website, the information from the new mission will improve the understanding of how the solar system works. Furthermore, it will also help protect astronauts travelling to the Moon and Mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment they travel through.
Hello, SunRISE. This new @NASASun mission will study the causes of solar particle storms — giant surges of solar particles that erupt off the Sun.— NASA (@NASA) March 30, 2020
Understanding such storms can help protect astronauts traveling to the Moon & Mars. About the mission: https://t.co/zWT8ZDbGj1 pic.twitter.com/loW2GSaxy9
The new mission is an ‘array of six CubeSats’ which will be operating as one very large radio telescope. In a bid to design, build and launch the mission, NASA has awarded $62.6 million. The launch will be no earlier than July 1, 2023.
According to the official site, Nicky Fox, the director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, said, “We are so pleased to add a new mission to our fleet of spacecraft that help us better understand the Sun, as well as how our star influences the space environment between planets”.
He further said, "The more we know about how the Sun erupts with space weather events, the more we can mitigate their effects on spacecraft and astronauts”.
.@NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates & releases giant storms of particles into space. The mission, called SunRISE, is an array of six CubeSats operating together as one large radio telescope. SunRISE will launch as soon as 2023: https://t.co/l1j2R3qeap pic.twitter.com/OPwHHAsk9k— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) March 30, 2020
NASA website further reveals that the mission design relies on six solar-powered CubeSats to observe radio images of low-frequency emission from solar activity and share them via NASA’s Deep Space Network. The constellation of CubeSats will also fly within six miles of each other, above the Earth’s atmosphere. Furthermore, the site explains that together, the six CubeSats will create 3D maps to pinpoint where giant particle bursts originate on the Sun and how they evolve as they expand outward into space.
Thomas Zurbuchen, mission’s principal investigator, also took to Twitter to explain the mission further.
We’ve selected a new @NASASun mission! Called SunRISE, this mission will study how our star generates & releases giant space weather particle storms. Info from this mission will also help improve how we protect #Artemis astronauts traveling to the Moon: https://t.co/dnQYdDHkgt pic.twitter.com/QymTUAddI5— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) March 30, 2020