ESA Gets Closer to the Sun, Explores Dark Energy

By @Len_IBTimes on

The European Space Agency plans to launch the Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft that will fly closer to the sun than ever before.

The launch, expected in 2017, will pass within 26 million miles of the sun, close enough to collect samples of particles right after these particles move away from the sun's surface.

The ESA, which will see through the launch, says the Solar Orbiter will be exposed 13 times more intense to the sun than that which is seen on Earth.

The ESA hopes the mission will enlighten scientists on how the sun generates the solar wind, which wraps the Earth. The winds cause aurora, the extraordinary light displays in the upper atmosphere.

The Solar Orbiter will be launched on a NASA rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and will take three years to reach the Sun.

Temperatures reaching 500 Celsius and extreme radioactivity will be a massive test for the onboard equipment, says Sky News.

"Solar Orbiter will help scientists to understand processes that affect the Earth's citizens by disrupting, for example, radio communication and power transmission," said ESA's director of science and robotic exploration, Alvaro Gimenez.

In another endeavor, the ESA will also launch a space telescope called Euclid in 2019 to explore the dark side of the universe, otherwise known as the dark energy, which is widely believed by scientists to be the cause of accelerating expansion of the universe.

Euclid will record observations up to 10 billion light years away.

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