After the moon, it is the turn of the sun. After the success of moon mission Chandrayaan-I, the Indian Space Research Organisation is actively pursuing a programme to send a rocket to the sun in 2012 to study the sun's corona or outermost layer, according to ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair.
Among other things, the sun mission, or Mission Aditya as it has been named, will seek to learn how and why solar flares and solar winds disturb the communication network and play havoc with electronics back on earth, Nair told reporters in Bangalore.
Mission Aditya has been on the cards for some time now, but has got an extra boost after the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, designed to orbit the Moon.
The success of the Aditya Mission will not only solve some of the mysteries surrounding the sun but also provide vital clues for ISRO on how to protect its satellites and spaceware from being damaged by hot winds and flares ejected out of the corona.
The temperature in corona ranges between 800,000 to three million degrees Celsius. Material is ejected from the corona into space containing several billion tons of matter with speeds ranging to several million miles per hour. Such material interacts with spacecraft and other man-made materials in its path, inducing electrical currents. They also damage power systems, disrupt communications and degrade high-tech navigation systems.
With the design in place, the mission will be launched in a couple of years. Aditya is said to be the world's first space based solar mission planned to study the corona. There are limitations to studying corona from the earth as it is visible only during solar eclipses. Also, the earth's atmosphere also scatters sunlight. This makes a space mission to study corona more important.