(NPR) — A new mission from NASA and the European Space Agency aims to provide the first-ever look at the sun's poles — and gather data that might help predict space weather.
The Solar Orbiter, a new mission from the European Space Agency and NASA, was designed to give us our first look at the sun's poles and to gather data that might help predict space weather.
There are many reasons why scientists want to know more about the sun's poles. They think the poles might be driving some important aspects of space weather throughout the solar system, which can impact spacecraft and even humans on Earth. “It has real world effects on our satellites, our GPS, our power grid and things like that,” McComas says.
“As we get more and more technologically advanced, the more susceptible we are to space weather and the more important it becomes to be able to forecast and hopefully ultimately predict,” Gilbert says. The data that Orbiter collects could eventually help build models forecasting space weather.