Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



SOLAR SCIENCE
Proposed NASA mission would investigate where space weather begins
by Lori Keesey for GSFC News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Nov 15, 2017


Deputy Principal Investigator Albert Shih (left) and Principal Investigator Steven Christe are baselining a next-generation detector array pictured here to measure X-rays for the hard X-ray spectroscopic imager on the proposed FOXSI mission.

A NASA team is advancing a mission to reveal unprecedented details about solar flares, powerful eruptions that explode with enough energy that each one could power all of Earth for 16,000 years, and which - when extreme - can interfere with radio communications and satellites near Earth.

The proposed mission, Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager, or FOXSI, was one of five proposals that received Phase-A funding under NASA's Small Explorer Program. NASA also selected another Goddard mission, Mechanisms of Energetic Mass Ejection-Explorer (MEME-X). Of the five, NASA is expected to select one or two for development and implementation.

Although scientists are familiar with the effects of solar flares, they don't completely understand the physical mechanisms that unleash these bursts of energy and light, or that which powers associated clouds of electrons and ions that can be accelerated up to near the speed of light.

Once unleashed, the particles affect all the Sun's atmospheric layers. They pass through the Sun's outermost layer - the corona where they also are known to originate - and race across the solar system. When they travel toward Earth, the particles and energy can interfere with space-based communications systems or even trip onboard electronics. The more scientists understand this process, the more situational awareness they have to protect assets in space.

"FOXSI is very new and very different," said Principal Investigator Steven Christe, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who leads the multinational FOXSI team developing the satellite mission.

"We've not done a mission like this before. For the first time, we're going to actually peer into the region where electrons are accelerated by applying technology that was developed to study the faintest sources in the galaxy but now pointed at the Sun."

Technique Validated in Sounding-Rocket Missionsx
Validated in multiple sounding-rocket and scientific balloon missions, FOXSI will make use of a new observing technique for a solar-dedicated satellite mission. It will employ high-angular-resolution grazing-incidence optics traditionally used to study powerful, very distant objects in the universe.

With this technique, X-ray radiation literally grazes off a set of curved mirrors nested inside an optical assembly - much like how a stone skims the surface of a pond when thrown. The radiation then is focused onto very fast, solid-state pixelated detectors that measure each individual photon, including its arrival, energy, and position on the sky.

The combination of technologies is expected to result in a mission that is 20 times more sensitive, 10 times faster at imaging solar-flare events, and 10 to 100 times better at imaging the relatively faint regions within flares. Current state-of-the-art technology cannot directly sense the particle-acceleration region because it is too faint, Christe added.

"For the first time, we'll have high-quality observations of the largest flares, that have the most significant effect on Earth, to the smallest flares," said Deputy Principal Investigator Albert Shih, referring to the two advanced instruments that would rely on the grazing-incidence optics to gather X-ray radiation. "We're trying to find out how this energy releases at different scales. Do the same mechanisms drive the full range of flares."

Another scientific goal, Christe added, is to determine the role that small flares, also known as nanoflares, play in heating the million-degree corona. According to him, they are an obvious candidate for supplying the needed energy to heat the Sun's outermost layer.

FOXSI would complement NASA's Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI, left off. Since its launch in 2002, RHESSI has observed thousands of X-ray flares over a broad field of view, from soft X-rays to higher-energy gamma rays.

"RHESSI gave us glimpses into the physics that leads to violent energy release on the Sun," Christe said. "With FOXSI we should have a clear view into the fundamental science going on in the acceleration sites where all the action takes place, where space weather begins."

For more Goddard technology news, go here

SOLAR SCIENCE
Parker Solar Probe Comes to NASA Goddard for Testing
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Nov 10, 2017
On Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft arrived at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for environmental tests. During the spacecraft's stay at Goddard, engineers and technicians will simulate extreme temperatures and other physical stresses that the spacecraft will be subjected to during its historic mission to the Sun. Before arriving at Godda ... read more

Related Links
Technology at NASA
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SOLAR SCIENCE
NASA Moves Up Critical Crew Safety Launch Abort Test

Brazil's tech junkies seek healing at digital detox clinic

NanoRacks launches Full External Cygnus Deployer on OA-8 to ISS

The road to Orion's launch

SOLAR SCIENCE
The state of commercial spaceports in 2017

Orbital ATK Successfully Tests First Motor Case for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

Orbital ATK launches eighth cargo mission to space

Vega launches Earth observation satellite for Morocco

SOLAR SCIENCE
How long can microorganisms live on Mars

NASA Opens $2 Million Third Phase of 3D-Printed Habitat Competition

Insight will carry over two million names to Mars

Opportunity Does a Wheelie and is Back on Solid Footing

SOLAR SCIENCE
China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

Space will see Communist loyalty: Chinese astronaut

China launches three satellites

Mars probe to carry 13 types of payload on 2020 mission

SOLAR SCIENCE
Astronaut meets volcano

European Space Week starts in Estonia

New Chinese sat comms company awaits approval

Myanmar to launch own satellite system-2 in 2019: vice president

SOLAR SCIENCE
Plasma from lasers can shed light on cosmic rays, solar eruptions

Leonardo tapped by British Royal Air Force for radar testing equipment

A new way to mix oil and water

Building better silk

SOLAR SCIENCE
Astronomers See Moving Shadows Around Planet-Forming Star

Scientists find potential 'missing link' in chemistry that led to life on earth

18-Month Twinkle in a Forming Star Suggests a Very Young Planet

Overlooked Treasure: The First Evidence of Exoplanets

SOLAR SCIENCE
Jupiter's Stunning Southern Hemisphere

Watching Jupiter's multiple pulsating X-ray Aurora

Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target

Juno Aces 8th Science Pass of Jupiter, Names New Project Manager




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement