MIDEX Missions

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    In News 

    • Recently, NASA selected a spacecraft to study the sun’s corona and a cluster of smallsats to monitor turbulence in the solar wind as its next Heliophysics medium-class Explorer (MIDEX)missions.

    About 

    • NASA selected the Multi-slit Solar Explorer (MUSE) and HelioSwarm as its next two heliophysics medium-class Explorer, or MIDEX, missions
      • MUSE: It will operate in Earth orbit, observing the sun at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to better understand the mechanisms that heat the corona, the tenuous upper atmosphere of the sun, to temperatures in excess of one million degrees Celsius. 
        • It will also be able to observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections that contribute to the corona’s high temperature.
        • It has two unique and novel telescopes onboard that will allow us to capture images and diagnose the properties of the gases in the hot solar atmosphere at a much higher resolution and up to 100 times faster than possible before. 
        • It has a projected cost of $192 million. NASA set a cost cap of $250 million, excluding launch, in the heliophysics MIDEX announcement of opportunity in 2019.
      • HelioSwarm: It will feature a “hub” spacecraft and eight smaller spacecraft deployed from it. 
        • HelioSwarm will be managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center and has a projected cost of $250 million

    Significance

    • Together, they will measure fluctuations in the magnetic field and motions of the solar wind known as solar wind turbulence.
      • Turbulence in space helps keep the universe hot, but we know very little about how it works. 
      • Many space scientists have waited decades for this mission.

    Source:Space news