NASA to unlock sun's secrets

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London, Jan 31 (ANI): US space agency NASA is set to embark on an ambitious mission which will try to discover the causes of extreme solar activity, such as sun spots and solar winds and flares.

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be launched in nine days' time, reports The Times.

With the project's help, scientists will be able to understand solar phenomena - such as disturbances on the sun - and hope to be able to produce reliable forecasts of "space weather" and provide advance warnings of any threat.

The observatory will orbit the Earth at a distance of 22,300 miles, and will measure fluctuations in the sun's ultraviolet output, map magnetic fields and photograph its surface and atmosphere.

Barbara Thompson, project scientist, said: "It is Nasa's first weather mission and it aims to characterise everything on the sun that can impact on the Earth and near Earth.

"We know things happen on the sun which affect spacecraft, communications and radio signals. If we can understand the underlying causes of what is happening then we can turn this information into forecasts.

"The key thing about the mission is that it is not just pure science for its own sake. There is likely to be a direct and immediate benefit for people."

Solar magnetic storms and space weather disturbances have had a number of dramatic consequences over the years. (ANI)

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