An American Atlas V rocket has successfully launched the European Solar Orbiter satellite into space during the early hours of 10 February. This unmanned space probe is Europe’s newest solar observatory which will start to study our Sun in just under two years from now. Its main mission is set to begin in November of 2021. At closest approach, Solar Orbiter will only be 42 million kilometers away from the Sun. Scientists hope to learn more about the solar wind, the Sun’s polar regions, the Sun’s magnetic field, solar activity and how it affects Earth. Solar Orbiter is an ESA mission with strong NASA participation.
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