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Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya-L1 (PAPA) |

Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya-L1 (PAPA)

Context:

∙ Recently, ISRO informed that the Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) payload onboard the Aditya-L1 has been operational and performing nominally. 

About the Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya-L1 (PAPA)

∙ It is one of seven scientific payloads aboard the 1,480-kg Aditya-L1 (India’s first mission to study the Sun), the solar probe of the ISRO which was inserted into a halo orbit at L1 in early January 2024.

∙ It is developed by the Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).

∙ It is designed to understand and gain deeper insights into the phenomenon of the ‘solar winds’ (outward expansion of plasma or a collection of charged particles) from the sun’s corona and their composition.

∙ Solar winds pose a threat to communications networks.

∙ It is an energy and mass analyzer designed for in-situ measurements of solar wind electrons and ions in the low energy range.

∙ The preliminary analysis shows that PAPA science data are of very good quality and the results match similar observations made by other instruments which are being operated at or around Lagrangian point L-1 by other space agencies.

Other Payloads in Aditya-L1– Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): It allows viewing of the corona (the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere) by masking the glare of the photosphere (sun’s surface). It could help explain why the corona is 200 to 500 times hotter than the photosphere.– Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS): It studies solar flares. The sun’s interiors contort the magnetic field, throwing out high-energy particles that reach Earth in the form of solar flares, disrupting radio communication and damaging satellites.– High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): It is designed to study solar flares in high-energy X-rays, with the acceleration and propagation of energetic electrons in the flare.– Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): It is a UV telescope to image the solar disk in the near ultraviolet wavelength range to study complex active regions of the sun (where the magnetic field is more concentrated) and Coronal Mass Ejections.– Aditya Solar wind Particle EXperiment (ASPEX): It comprises two subsystems:a. Solar Wind Ion Spectrometer (SWIS): is a low energy spectrometer designed to measure the proton and alpha particles, the two primary ion components of solar winds.b. Suprathermal and Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS): is designed to measure high-energy ions of the solar wind. They allow scientists to study the properties of plasmas and their role in the transfer of mass, momentum, and energy from the sun to Earth.– MAGNETOMETER: It will study the sun’s low intensity interplanetary magnetic field, which is carried by solar winds.

Key Features of PAPA

∙ PAPA contains two sensors that are equipped to measure the direction of arrival of solar wind particles:

∙ The Solar Wind Electron Energy Probe (SWEEP): It measures the solar wind electron flux.

∙ The Solar Wind Ion Composition AnalyseR (SWICAR): It measures ion flux and composition as a function of direction and energy.

Role in the Aditya-L1 Mission

∙ The Aditya-L1 mission was launched aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C57 mission on September 2, 2023.

∙ As Aditya traversed the 1.5 million km distance to L1, the PAPA payload was switched on for the first time on November 8.

∙ The high voltage (HV) commissioning of the payload and science data observations were started on December 11.

About Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs)Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya-L1 (PAPA) |– They are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields (frozen in flux) from the Sun’s corona.a. These are stronger than the background solar wind interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) strength.– They can travel in any random direction and cut through solar winds, and they are sometimes associated with flares but can occur independently.– CMEs are capable of driving the Space Weather in near-Earth space.a. If CMEs are Earth-directed, they can cause severe implications.

Conclusion

∙ PAPA payload onboard the Aditya-L1 Mission remains healthy and the scientific data sent by it are of very good quality.

∙ The successful operation of PAPA is a testament to the capabilities of ISRO and its contribution to our understanding of the solar wind.

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