NASA’s Parker probe is being ‘bombarded’ by dust in space

The Parker Solar Probe lives in the extremely hot environment around the Sun known as the corona and.

In addition to the high temperatures, it has to withstand attack from space dust.

The solar probe Parker of NASA  is being attacked with space dust crashes at high speeds against the ship.

Scientists are studying how much it hurts the impact of dust to Parker in space , in a research commissioned by the US Agency to prevent further mishaps.

The impact of dust

The dust grains collide with the ship at a speed of 11 thousand kilometers per hour, say those responsible, and hit Parker every 15 seconds.

Space dust is a ubiquitous element of our solar system and probably many other planetary systems in the universe. Tiny dust particles, a quarter the width of a human hair and generated by asteroids and comets, are locked in an eternal dance around the Sun. Parker, spinning around the star at unfathomable speeds, constantly collides with the grains and, when they hit its metal body, heat up, vaporize, ionize, and turn into plasma.

Using Fields, the probe’s instrument for measuring magnetic fields, and Wispr, an imaging device that can take photos of the Sun and study the density of electrons in its corona, a team of scientists from the University of Colorado, Boulder Laboratory to Atmosphere and Space Physics (LASP) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory studied the severity of these impacts .

The team noted how some of the impacts would topple Parker (paint chips, metal), affecting the probe’s navigation cameras. If fired at the correct angle, reflected light from the sun directly into the navigation cameras, blinding her for a moment.

The wrong kind of impact could be fatal to Parker, blinding him long enough to re-incline his heat shield the wrong way. Without a heat shield to protect it, the rest of the spacecraft could fry from the high temperatures.

Fortunately, nothing has happened so far and the probe continues to break records.

The burn-proof craft, launched by NASA in August 2018, has been slowly approaching the blazing inferno of our solar system for the past three years, studying its magnetic fields and particle physics along the way. It has been a successful trip and the probe has been setting speed records. In 2020, it became the fastest human-made object ever built.