Spacewatch: Nasa SunRise mission to study solar storms

Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment aims to pinpoint places where giant particle storms are launched into space

Nasa has selected a new mission that will study how space weather forms on the sun and launches radiation storms into space.

Called the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE), the mission consists of six small CubeSats that will provide three dimensional maps of solar activity to pinpoint the places where giant particle storms are launched into space.

Nasa has awarded $62.6m (£50m) to design, build and launch the array sometime after 1 July 2023 as a secondary payload on an existing commercial launch. SunRISE was initially chosen by Nasa for its Explorers programme in August 2017 but underwent an extended period of formulation studies that only ended last month.

Once in space, the CubeSats will fly within six miles of each other collecting radio signals from the sun that would be otherwise blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere.

As well as tracking particle storms, the data will allow the pattern of the sun’s magnetic field to be traced from the solar atmosphere out into interplanetary space.

A better understanding of space weather could help protect astronauts on moon or Mars exploration missions. SunRISE is led by Justin Kasper at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and managed by Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Contributor

Stuart Clark

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa joins Japan's mission to study sun's atmosphere
EUVST telescope will study how solar winds emanate from the sun, creating ‘space weather’

Stuart Clark

08, Jan, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Nasa to study impact of 'space weather' on Earth
Mission proposals include analysis of sun’s atmosphere and its unseen polar regions

Stuart Clark

03, Sep, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa asteroid mission passes key milestone
Design review stage passed for craft intended to visit iron-and-nickel mini-world in 2026

Stuart Clark

09, Jul, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa ends 16-year Spitzer infrared mission
Spitzer became first telescope to directly capture light from planets in orbit around other stars

Stuart Clark

06, Feb, 2020 @9:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: deep space climate monitor back in business
New software returns Earth climate satellite to life

Stuart Clark

05, Mar, 2020 @9:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Tess embarks on planet-hunting mission for Nasa
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will take an elliptical path around Earth to observe stars for evidence of exoplanets

Stuart Clark

19, Apr, 2018 @8:30 PM

Article image
Lost Nasa spacecraft breaks silence after 22 months
Spacewatch: Persistence pays off after messages finally get through to drifting solar observatory

Stuart Clark

25, Aug, 2016 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: IM-1 mission takes aim at moon's Ocean of Storms
Intuitive Machines announces its Nova-C lander will target touchdown near Vallis Schröteri

Stuart Clark

16, Apr, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Solar Orbiter sends first data back to Earth
Spacecraft completes first critical stage of mission after successful deployment of boom arm

Stuart Clark

20, Feb, 2020 @9:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: ESA and China plan new sun-Earth mission
Smile mission could help reduce ‘space weather’ disruption to satellite services

Stuart Clark

07, Mar, 2019 @9:30 PM