It’s true that the Sun sustains and nurtures all life on Earth, but it can not always be as friendly as we know it. After all, it’s an enormous ball of fire. If you play around with fire and don’t know how to handle it, you will obviously get burned. The same simple principle applies to our beloved Sun, the cosmic objects that provides us energy and heat daily.
The technological society that we live in can be severely affected by the Sun’s solar winds and radiation. Luckily for us, there are measures we can take to protect our infrastructure from the geomagnetic storms caused by the Sun. But we need an accurate forecast system for that.
A spacecraft could do the job
The idea belongs to Juha-Pekka Luntama, who is responsible for space weather at ESA’s mission control center from Darmstadt, Germany. He declared:
One of the best ways to observe rapidly changing solar activity is to position a dedicated spacecraft slightly away from our direct line to the Sun, so that it can observe the ‘side’ of our star before it rotates into view,
Such a spacecraft would measure the material of the storm heading towards Earth, and it could find out its speed, temperature, and density. It can also measure the direction of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF).
Furthermore, Juha-Pekka states:
The spacecraft would provide crucial data that will help us spot Earth-arriving ejections, improve our forecasts of the arrival time at Earth and provide advance knowledge of active regions on the Sun as they rotate into view.
For the mission to be completed, there are needed two spacecraft, as you probably already guessed. They will also need instruments like magnetographs, magnetometers, spectrometers, coronagraphs, plasma analyzers, and others.
The mission for creating an accurate forecast system of the solar storms is on the design concept for now, but awaiting further information about the subject is a priority for us.