July 7, 2017

Solar Probe Plus has a new name

The new denomination is Parker Solar Probe

On 31st May 2017, NASA officially renamed the Solar Probe Plus mission Parker Solar Probe, in honour of Professor Gene Parker from the University of Chicago. In the late 1950s, Professor Parker was the first to theorise on the existence of solar wind; he pursued his hypothesis and made invaluable contributions to modern heliophysics. This is the first time NASA renames a mission after an active scientist.

The Parker Solar Probe mission will be launched by NASA in 2018. Its objective is to study solar wind emanating from the Sun’s corona. It will use Venus’s gravitational pull to slingshot towards a heliocentric orbit.

CNES supports several French laboratories in their contributions to the mission: LPC2E, LESIA, IRAP, LPP, LAM, and PROMES. The LPC2E laboratory is in charge of developing the SCM equipment (Search Coil Magnetometers), part of the FIELDS instrument supervised by the University of California in Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory. SCM is a magnetometer designed to measure the magnetic field in 3 dimensions. It will be managed by FIELDS’s control electronics.

FIELDS will measure electric and magnetic fields, as well as radio and plasma wave emissions. It will also be used as a space dust detector.

The Parker Solar Probe mission is coordinated with ESA's Solar Orbiter project as part of the joint HELEX programme (Heliophysics Explorers).

Logo de Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe mission logo
© NASA