NASA’s PUNCH Mission

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    8th Jul, 2019

NASA has selected Texas-based Southwest Research Institute to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.

Context

NASA has selected Texas-based Southwest Research Institute to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.

About

  • The Sun generates a vast outpouring of solar particles known as the solar wind, which can create a dynamic system of radiation in space called space weather.
  • The space weather system can lead to profound impacts on human interests, such as astronaut’s safety, radio communications, GPS signals, and utility grids on the ground.
  • This makes it our imperative to understand as to what drives the space weather and its interaction with the Earth and lunar systems.

As a result, NASA has commissioned, PUNCH Mission and TRACERS MISSION to advance our understanding of the Sun and its dynamic effects on space.

NASA’s PUNCH MISSION.

  • The Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere, or PUNCH, mission will focus directly on the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, and how it generates the solar wind.
  • It is composed of four suitcase-sized satellites. PUNCH will image and track the solar wind as it leaves the Sun.
  • The spacecraft also will track coronal mass ejections (large eruptions of solar material that can drive large space weather events near Earth) to better understand their evolution and develop new techniques for predicting such eruptions.
  • PUNCH is being funded for no more than $165 million. The mission is expected to be launched in 2022.

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