Orbital Path 10: Done in the Sun

Coronal mass ejection

Coronal mass ejection
NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

It’s a pretty amazing thing to live up close and personal with a star — the Sun. The solar system is bathed in its particle wind, and every now and then it kicks off some more violent solar weather as well. It created the conditions that allowed life to begin on Earth, and in hundreds of millions of years, it will take us all out too.

Oh, did you think we had billions of years left?  Think again.

I'll speak with Dr. Alex Young, Associate Director for Science in the Heliophysics Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He speaks about the impressive fleet of spacecraft NASA uses to monitor the Sun, including the upcoming Solar Probe Plus, an exciting new mission to delve closer to our star than ever before.

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Episode Extras

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C. Alex Young’s office doormat at NASA Goddard!

This 2015 video celebrates five years of solar observations from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Follow along with the development of Solar Probe Plus, slated for launch in 2018.

Find out about the fleet of Sun-observing spacecraft NASA uses to monitor our home star.


Orbital Path is produced by PRX and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Don't miss PRX's other science podcasts: Transistor and Outside Magazine.

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