The ESA/NASA mission Solar Orbiter

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3 Mayo 2012 - 00:00 Europe/London


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Solar Orbiter is the first mission of the ESA Cosmic Vision program and that has recently been approved at implementation level. It is an M class mission with a predicted launch in 2017. Solar Orbiter will approach the Sun to a distance of 0.28 AU and perform coordinated in-situ and remote sensing observations of the Heliosphere and the Sun. It's main scientific goal is to understand the link between physical processes at the solar surface and their impact in the inner Heliosphere. A series of gravity assist manoeuvres with Venus will kick the mission out of the ecliptic plane until it reaches an angle of 35 degrees. From this vantage point, we will observe for the first time the Solar Poles without suffering from strong projection effects. These observations can help us understand key physical ingredients of the solar dynamos such as the meridional flow and the polar field reversal. Solar Orbiter includes ESA and NASA participation and it is the first time a space mission has two instruments where Spain participates at PI level. In particular IAC/INTA is co-PI of the Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager, a magnetograph to image the solar surface magnetic field.