WEBVTT FILE 1 00:00:00.490 --> 00:00:03.400 Ever since we’ve been pointing spacecraft at the Sun, 2 00:00:03.400 --> 00:00:07.890 two regions on our star have been missing from satellite images. 3 00:00:07.890 --> 00:00:10.790 The Sun’s two poles, have never been mapped 4 00:00:10.790 --> 00:00:15.170  because all the solar imagers we have built, have remained in the ecliptic plane 5 00:00:15.170 --> 00:00:20.560 — the swath of space roughly aligned with the Sun’s equator where all the planets orbit. 6 00:00:20.560 --> 00:00:25.970 A new mission from the European Space Agency and NASA called Solar Orbiter 7 00:00:25.970 --> 00:00:31.450  aims to escape this plane and take the very first images of the poles. 8 00:00:31.450 --> 00:00:34.380 The planets are all moving and circling the Sun, 9 00:00:34.380 --> 00:00:36.540 so we already have some velocity going one way. 10 00:00:36.540 --> 00:00:40.180  If we want to launch up, out of the ecliptic, it requires more energy. 11 00:00:40.180 --> 00:00:45.960 To get outside the ecliptic plane, Solar Orbiter uses Earth’s and Venus’ gravity 12 00:00:45.960 --> 00:00:48.590 to slingshot itself into a view of the poles. 13 00:00:48.590 --> 00:00:52.350 The only other satellite to fly over the poles was Ulysses, 14 00:00:52.350 --> 00:00:55.860 which launched in 1990 to study the solar atmosphere. 15 00:00:55.860 --> 00:01:02.780 But Solar Orbiter will be the first mission to capture actual images of this hard-to-reach region. 16 00:01:02.780 --> 00:01:05.300 Scientists think the poles could be the missing piece 17 00:01:05.300 --> 00:01:08.460 to understanding what drives the Sun’s activity. 18 00:01:08.460 --> 00:01:12.440 Every 11 years, the Sun's magnetic field flips 19 00:01:12.440 --> 00:01:15.490 — north becomes south, and vice versa. 20 00:01:15.490 --> 00:01:18.800 This mysterious process has direct effects on Earth. 21 00:01:18.800 --> 00:01:22.780 Before the poles flip, solar activity reaches its peak. 22 00:01:22.780 --> 00:01:25.280 The number of eruptions increases, 23 00:01:25.280 --> 00:01:30.670 sending powerful bursts of solar material that can potentially harm our astronauts and satellites.  24 00:01:30.670 --> 00:01:36.450 We don’t really have a good understanding of the global solar behavior. 25 00:01:36.450 --> 00:01:38.120 Another one of the mission’s goals 26 00:01:38.120 --> 00:01:43.040 is to monitor how these eruptions and solar material travel through space.  27 00:01:43.040 --> 00:01:45.920 Using a suite of 10 instruments, 28 00:01:45.920 --> 00:01:50.330 Solar Orbiter observes an active region on the surface as it explodes 29 00:01:50.330 --> 00:01:56.380 and then it also takes measurements as the escaping material passes directly by the spacecraft. 30 00:01:56.380 --> 00:02:01.840 Solar Orbiter will give us a comprehensive full view of the entire Sun 31 00:02:01.840 --> 00:02:06.230 and how the Sun is impacting throughout the entire solar system. 32 00:02:06.230 --> 00:02:10.320 At closest approach, Solar Orbiter will be closer to the Sun than Mercury 33 00:02:10.320 --> 00:02:13.610 at a mere 26 million miles away 34 00:02:13.610 --> 00:02:19.330 — the ideal distance to get a comprehensive view of the Sun and its surrounding atmosphere.   35 00:02:19.330 --> 00:02:21.850 It will fly close to the Sun every six months 36 00:02:21.850 --> 00:02:25.130 and endure temperatures more than 900 degrees Fahrenheit. 37 00:02:25.130 --> 00:02:29.820 To survive the intense radiation, a large titanium shield protects the instruments, 38 00:02:29.820 --> 00:02:34.700 while a carefully orchestrated dance of opening and closing eye holes in the shield 39 00:02:34.700 --> 00:02:37.690 allows the instruments to peep out at the right time. 40 00:02:37.690 --> 00:02:43.220 Other instruments will directly measure solar material from behind the shadow of the shield. 41 00:02:43.220 --> 00:02:48.050 All these observations will tell us more about the Sun than we’ve ever known before 42 00:02:48.050 --> 00:02:55.140 and by the end of the 7-year mission, we will have seen our star in a completely new way. 43 00:02:55.140 --> 00:02:59.720 Our undestanding of the Sun will change dramatically. 44 00:02:59.720 --> 00:03:05.600 I will say that we are living in a revolutionary moment in our field. 45 00:03:05.600 --> 00:03:17.205