Professor Justin Kasper Featured in New Documentary About the Sun
Posted: February 14, 2017
This past weekend, a new documentary film about our local star called THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN premiered on both the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. The film talks about the our growing awareness of the inner workings of the Sun, it’s importance to life on Earth, and the potentially harmful effects for our modern civilization.
The film also features an extensive discussion about the upcoming Solar Probe Plus mission (launching 2018), and an interview with the mission’s Principal Investigator, Climate & Space professor Justin Kasper. Solar Probe Plus is groundbreaking mission. The probe will fly into the sun's atmosphere (or corona) for the first time, closer than any previous spacecraft. Once it’s reached its destination, Solar Probe Plus will perform measurements and imaging to help researchers better understand how the sun's corona is heated as well as the origin an evolution of the solar wind.
From the Discovery Channel:
“What would happen if the sun took out our electrical power grid for an entire year? It may sound like the plot of a sci-fi movie, but this doomsday scenario could actually happen. Despite its calm appearance, the sun is a violent place, constantly releasing huge masses of energy known as coronal mass ejections.
“These storms have hit the earth before. The last big one struck more than 150 years ago in the Victorian era taking out worldwide telegraph service. The impact of a similar storm would be far more destructive in our modern age of hyper-connected telecommunication and total reliance on electricity and electronics.
“Fortunately, scientists and engineers are building the world’s largest solar telescope and launching the first ever spacecraft to fly to the sun to help us predict these potentially devastating events – and prepare for them.”