Since the very beginning man has been very curious to fathom and to know about his surroundings, even which stretch far across the sky where an easy access is impossible. European Space Agency has same motive to explore what brews up there near the Sun. It has signed a contract with Astrium UK to build a Solar Orbiter that would, once launched in 2017, will orbit around the Sun to observe the atmosphere in its environs.
Named SoIO, the orbiter will be the first ever spacecraft to record data from as near the Sun as 42 million kilometers away. The biggest challenge for the agency is, of course, to protect it from the heat that can reach up to 500 degrees.
To keep the Solar Orbiter safe, a multi-layered robust heatshield will be used that will keep the inner temperature to a room’s level for smoother operation of in-situ imagery sensors and telescopes.
The idea behind this space mission is to gain insights how the Sun affects its environment and yields charged particles that ultimately reach to the Earth and other planets.
NASA will provide ESA a rocket, an instrument, and a sensor to help send the craft on its way to mighty giant up in the sky. Alvaro Gimenez from ESA and Miranda Mills from Astrium shook hands at London Science Museum for this 300 million Euro space venture.