In order to unlock the mysteries of the corona, but also to protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, we will send Parker Solar Probe to touch the sun.
The primary science goals for the mission are to trace the flow of energy and understand the heating of the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind. Parker Solar Probe provides a statistical survey of the outer corona.
There are four major investigations:
Fields Experiment (FIELDS)
This investigation will make direct measurements of electric and magnetic fields and waves, Poynting flux, absolute plasma density and electron temperature, spacecraft floating potential and density fluctuations, and radio emissions.
FIELDS PI: Prof. Stuart Bale; University of California, Berkeley
Integrated Science Investigation of the sun (IS☉IS)
This investigation makes observations of energetic electrons, protons and heavy ions that are accelerated to high energies (10s of keV to 100 MeV) in the sun's atmosphere and inner heliosphere, and correlates them with solar wind and coronal structures.
IS☉IS PI: Dr. David McComas; Princeton University
Wide-field Imager for Solar PRobe (WISPR)
These telescopes will take images of the solar corona and inner heliosphere. The experiment will also provide images of the solar wind, shocks and other structures as they approach and pass the spacecraft. This investigation complements the other instruments on the spacecraft providing direct measurements by imaging the plasma the other instruments sample.
WISPR PI: Dr. Russell Howard; Naval Research Laboratory
Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation
This investigation will count the most abundant particles in the solar wind -- electrons, protons and helium ions -- and measure their properties such as velocity, density, and temperature.
SWEAP PI: Prof. Justin Kasper; University of Michigan/ Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory