Successful launch of a space probe to explore the sun

Sun ExplorerIn this photo provided by NASA, United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket, lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. European Space Agency and NASA's Solar Orbiter rocketed into space Sunday night on an unprecedented mission to capture the first pictures of the sun's elusive poles. (Jared Frankle/NASA via AP)

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The Solar Orbiter probe that will photograph the sun’s poles was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida just after 5 am on Monday morning

The project is one of the European Space Agency’s most ambitious. With its partner NASA, it hopes the probe can provide new knowledge about the sun’s atmosphere, wind and magnetic fields. In addition, the probe will be the first to photograph the sun’s poles.

After about an hour, the probe detached from the launcher. The probe will pass Venus and Mercury before it reaches a maximum speed of 245,000 km/h and enters orbit about 42 million kilometers from the sun’s surface. The research itself is expected to start in late 2021 before the space probe first arrives around the sun’s orbit in 2022.

The project will also investigate other stars in order to be able to map the possibilities of housing in other solar systems.

The probe, which has a price tag of almost 14 billion kroner, is made in Europe. Several Norwegian players have contributed to the project: Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace, the company Bitvis and solar researchers at the University of Oslo.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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