Justin Kasper, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Topic: "Solar Probe Plus: Mission to the Sun"  (Video)

Abstract: The space age has revolutionized our understanding of the heliosphere, yet after more than half a century, two of the most fundamental questions in Heliophysics remain unanswered: why is the solar corona so much hotter than the photosphere? And how is the solar wind accelerated? These questions are critical to understanding the Sun and how it interacts with the solar system. In order to answer these questions NASA will send a spacecraft called Solar Probe Plus into the atmosphere of the Sun in a mission beginning in 2018. This talk will discuss the scientific motivations of a mission to the Sun, describe the spacecraft and its payload, and the broader application of this project to general questions in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas.