20:05 GMT02 July 2020
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    The Parker Solar Probe blasted off from Cape Canaveral Florida yesterday and will come closer to the Sun than any space exploration in history, and even Icarus himself.

    Will it be a worthwile endeavour or merely another excuse for the US to flex its muscles in space? Sputnik spoke with Brett Biddington, past chairman of the Space Industry Association of Australia and Simon Driver, Professor Of Physics at the University Of Western Australia.

    Sputnik: What will we learn from the probe?

    Brett Biddington: We are very puzzled by the sun, for example why is it so much hotter on the outside than the inside?

    This has major impacts within space, how the solar wind and sun are performing, enormous damage can be done to global infrastructure by the sun.

    If we come back from this extreme scenario, we simply need to understand what space weather is doing, so that we can minimise damage to satellites and my hope would be that with better understanding;

    We can design systems and manage risks regarding further space exploration.

    Sputnik: Could learning more about the sun help future human settlement on Mars?

    Simon Driver: Mars has a much thinner atmosphere and the solar radiation is weaker, whoever is there will have to cope with the fact that they might get bursts of radiation from the sun that is very harmful.

    If we can understand and predict when that is going to happen, then we can protect the settlers.

    The sun has a more immediate effect on the life on Earth and could disrupt power networks; if we could get advance warnings, we would be better prepared for it.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Brett Biddington and Simon Driver and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    warnings, atmosphere, damage, risks, research, Parker Solar Probe, Brett Biddington, Simon Driver, space, Earth, Sun
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