NASA selects 2 new missions to explore the sun to promote understanding of coronal heating mechanism and solar wind turbulence

In order to better understand the dynamics of the sun and the interaction between the sun and the earth, NASA announced two heliophysics missions that stood out from five proposals. Satellite constellation, HelioSwarm probe to measure magnetic field fluctuations and solar wind turbulence.

NASA has many detectors under the MIDEX medium-sized exploration mission, such as the more commonly heard: Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory (Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory) dedicated to observing gamma-ray bursts, Kepler Space The successor of the telescope is the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the IMAGE satellite that was accidentally found by amateur astronomers in Canada after being lost for 12 years, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Satellite (WISE), and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) et al.

On February 10 this year, NASA announced the selection of 2 new probes to join the MIDEX medium-scale exploration mission, including a spacecraft MUSE (Multi-slit Solar Explorer) to study the solar corona, and a satellite constellation HelioSwarm to monitor solar wind turbulence.

The MUSE mission, with a budget of $192 million, will orbit the Earth, equip two novel telescopes and observe the sun in the extreme ultraviolet to better understand the mechanisms that heat the corona (the upper atmosphere of the sun) to more than 1 million degrees Celsius, while also observing Solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

Turbulence in space is one of the mechanisms that keeps the universe at a high temperature, but we know very little about the mechanism behind it. In addition, the interaction between the solar heliopause and the planetary magnetosphere, coronal mass ejections, etc. will destroy this mechanism. I want to study a large area Solar wind turbulence requires simultaneous plasma measurements from different points, so NASA chose HelioSwarm with a budget of $250 million, consisting of 1 main detector and 8 small branch detectors, maintaining radio contact with each other to measure the sun Fluctuations in the magnetic field and turbulence in the solar wind, many space scientists have waited decades for the mission.

NASA has not announced when HelioSwarm and MUSE will launch, but they must be ready by February 2026.

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