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SANTA CLARA, California (Reuters) – After one false start, weeks of speculation and roller-coaster swings in its share price, the company once synonymous with the rise of the Internet has finally landed an attractive-looking buyer.

Faltering Sun Microsystems, pulling a rabbit out of a hat, rallied from the collapse of talks with International Business Machines Corp to hawk itself to Redwood City, California-based software giant Oracle Corp.

Many at the flagging server-and-software company were just glad it appears to be over. A deal with Oracle may be a better fit than IBM for the troops at Sun, which — despite its roller-coaster history — still inspires fierce loyalty among its own ranks and customers.

“We’re sort of relieved,” said a 39-year-old hardware manager and 12-year veteran of the company. “There was a lot of bad press with Sun being up for sale, desperately looking for a buyer. It hurt business and it hurt earnings.”

Where IBM conjured up images of a mass of navy-blue suits, Sun employees see Oracle as a compatriot.

“The employees run in the same social circles as Sun employees,” the manager said.

Few companies embody the rise and fall of dot-com as much as Sun, whose name stands for Stanford University Network and whose campus resembles that of the college, with a palmtree-lined drive leading up to a grassy courtyard and clocktower.

If the $7 billion deal worth $9.50 a share is approved by shareholders and regulators, it could rescue Sun’s earnings and bolster Oracle’s position against rivals such as Cisco Systems, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard Co.

“We’re calling this the clash of the titans year,” said Brent Bracelin, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.

By buying Sun at a sky-high premium, 10 cents more than what sources have said IBM offered and therefore likely to be attractive to shareholders, Oracle would bring an end to the go-it-alone warhorse identity of a company that shed virtually its entire stock value in under a decade.


Sun has struggled since the dot-com bust in the early 2000s and in November said it would lay off up to 6,000 of its staff, or 15 to 18 percent of its workforce.

Its shares peaked in 2000 at just under $260, but were only at about $9 even after a 37 percent surge on Monday. They closed at $9.21 on Tuesday, up less than 1 percent.

But in headier days, the company — led by firebrand co-founder and Harvard-Stanford alumnus Scott McNealy — took on Microsoft.

McNealy — who grew Sun from a Silicon Valley start-up to a globe-spanning firm with 38,000 employees — called his rival’s proprietary Windows software “a giant hairball” and touted his own open-software philosophy.

He lost. Windows went on to dominate the PC platform and Microsoft eclipsed the firm in size and market share. But that same fight bred comradeship between McNealy and Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison, as the two battled a common enemy.

Though acquisitions often mean layoffs, and this one will be compounded by one of the worst economic crises in history, many felt their jobs would be safer with Oracle than with IBM.

“With IBM there was much more concern about layoffs because of the amount of overlap,” said a 30-year-old hardware engineer who has been with the company 3-1/2 years.

But one 20-year veteran was more cautious, saying it was unclear what Ellison meant to do with Sun’s hardware business.

“The first question Oracle can ask is … why not make everything Intel-compatible?” he said, wondering aloud if Oracle might sell the hardware division.

Bracelin does not think that will happen.

“The only way that Oracle would be able to generate that meaningful of a level of profitability is if they kept a portion of the hardware business and more importantly the three to four billion dollars in maintenance on that hardware.”

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How Does Oracle Cloud Works?

Definition of Oracle Cloud

Hadoop, Data Science, Statistics & others

Oracle cloud offers Platform as a Service(PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Data as a Service (DaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Again, these services are implemented to build, integrate, extend and deploy applications in the cloud.

Similarly, this platform provisions several open standards such as HTML5, SQL, REST, etc., open-source applications such as Spark, Kafka, Hadoop, MySQL, Terraform, Kubernetes, etc. and also a multiplicity of programming languages, tools, databases, and frameworks comprising Open Source, Oracle Specific as well as third party systems and software.

Why do we need oracle cloud?

Further, it will permit IT for converging on key business creativities and thus assisting organizations with deliberate projects vs protecting the lights on and be present in the data center business.

Some of the real remunerations of moving to the Oracle cloud and why we need it mentioned as follows:

Lower Costs: Since, subscription costs can be a money saver and so Oracle cloud brings more than the subscription costing so thus providing cost savings of hardware, improved business flexibility, and also greater efficiencies in the long and short term.

Future Proofing: Since, the Oracle cloud is hassle-free and simple to implement thus, it delivers a future-proofed solution that helps to move legacy workload on an updated platform.

Simplicity: Without transferring to over-complexity, using Oracle cloud IaaS solution to move the prevailing workload simply and ensuring for improved performance and cost.

Innovative Agility: With the Oracle cloud, any sprightly response raised from anyone’s ability can be scaled up quickly for controlling additional locations, developer processes, analytics projects, and so on and including scale down when business or projects slows or complete.

How does Oracle cloud works?

Generally, cloud computing is defined to be the grouping of the implementation of computer technology i.e. calculating as well as Internet-based development i.e. the cloud. Hence, the cloud denotes as an allegory of the internet since this is the cloud which is basically illustrated also in the computer network graphs.


Offers hardware cost savings, superior efficiencies, and growths business flexibility in a little and lengthy-term.

Provides automated and streamlined work performance using shared infrastructure which empowers the tasks to execute quickly scale up or down for meeting the demands.

Delivering a future proof solution with easy hassle-free for working to move the legacy workload to modern platforms.

Supports streamlined procedure for migrating applications like ERP, analytics software, and also the present architecture to the cloud.

It offers scalable infrastructure, hardware, development capabilities including software options which has provision for business.

The prevailing infrastructure constituents of Oracle Cloud are not sufficient to execute all cloud solutions.

Improvement is needed for UI navigation.

The user interface consists of glitches and requires tags to be supplemented to develop the services.

Integration with few other tools or say the cloud solutions is not upfront or not existing.

Load balancing ability includes partial functionality.

The dependability is not good enough where occurrences may not be accessed occasionally.

Problems exist with database connectivity.

The requirement of extra templates.

Data confidentiality risk.

Vulnerability for attack


Oracle cloud empowers secure integration among its several services, cloud services, and customer applications from other suppliers where these all services function collectively in integrated cloud environs.

Hence, in the cloud the application services are categorized as:

Software as a service(SaaS)

Data as a Service(DaaS)

Again, platform services are categorized into the following:

Platform as a Service(PaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service(PaaS)

Usage of Oracle cloud

The Oracle cloud services are offered by Oracle for delivering the cloud applications, storage, processing, and servers on the global network which consists of organized data centers set. This network itself is constructed on 25Gb Ethernet where no node is disconnected from another node by multiple hops with the flat topology of the network. This network thus provides Oracle the confidence to deal with a solid service level agreement i.e. SLA.

Here, platform, software, infrastructure, and data services such as PaaS, IaaS, DaaS, and IaaS can all be implemented to integrate or outspread a company’s applications into Oracle cloud or to construct and install new ones. Both the bare metal compute and virtualized multi-tenant deployment services may be associated with a single application program interface i.e. API.


Oracle cloud is known to be the public cloud service proposing of the database company. To run the Oracle databases, Oracle has placed and also personalized its cloud services as the finest option.

Also, it is a challenger today to the market prominent competitor named Amazon. Hence, Oracle holds a global network of succeeded data centers set for organizing their cloud assistances.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to Oracle Cloud. Here we discuss the definition, syntax, How does Oracle cloud work?, Why do we need oracle cloud? and examples with code implementation. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Sun Begins Circling Its Software Wagons

SAN FRANCISCO — Sun Microsystems Friday said it is getting close to announcing the next phase in its overall software strategy — one the company says will better connect data center operators with developers.

During its quarterly software update, Sun Executive Vice President of Software Jonathan Schwartz said the company has been successful in building on each level of it main customer focus areas: developers, CIOs and data center operators through its platforms like Java and Solaris. The challenge now, says Schwartz, is to come up with a way to allow for “provisioning.”

“Folks are not interested in writing new applications as much as they are interested in connecting the systems they built,” said Schwartz. “To a carrier, provisioning means identifying a new service that comes online. For Web services, it means granting access to those services and to a developer, it means the distribution of their programs.”

While Schwartz declined to give specific details on the project, he said Sun is expected to make major announcements regarding the provisioning strategy during its JavaONE conference in San Francisco this June.

The company is working fast to curry favor with vendors in anticipation of next month’s release of Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun also said it was shifting some of its software support to allow for more developers and customers to choose them and combat similar offerings by Sun’s chief rivals Microsoft , IBM and Hewlett-Packard .

Schwartz said Sun would now allow for other versions of Linux to be distributed within its new Project Orion and run “unmodified” on Solaris. Previously, Project Orion ran only on Solaris-based systems.

The shift marks yet another attempt by Sun to court the rise in Linux-based systems. Sun Linux, the company’s own Linux flavor, is based on Red Hat’s kernel. Sun said it expects to support between two and four separate distributions for its new Orion licensing platform. Besides Red Hat, UnitedLinux is the other major distributor of the Linux standard for servers.

“This is no longer about what kernel are you running, it is what is your Web services infrastructure,” said Schwartz. “I think we are late with Linux in the market, we freely admit it. But at the end of the day, it’s going to depend more on the generalized infrastructure, which is what we’re more interested in.”

Sun said the spectrum of software included in Project Orion will span Solaris and Linux at the core with a common Java runtime environment and combine Web services infrastructure technologies, such as application servers and portals; Microsoft-interoperable e-mail and communications; Liberty-enabled directory and identity; Grid engine, streaming media, storage management, availability monitoring technologies, and clustering.

From an operational standpoint, this is the biggest single shift in our software strategy,” said Schwartz.

And even though, Project Orion’s licensing allows for customers to swap a Sun-based application for one of another vendor, the pricing would remain the same. Sun said it is considering regulating the licensing based on the number of employees a customer has in addition to its traditional per-CPU pricing.

Sun said its future “provisioning” strategy will be founded on its N1 platform. The idea is to “cable once provision forever,” meaning that system administrators can plug in servers, storage and other devices into a network and be able to configure, manage and them through a central area. The platform is being targeted to larger sectors like telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing and ultimately the government.

The company said it had a great opportunity to gain some marketshare with IBM and HP abandoning UNIX on 32-bit systems.

Oracle Pl/Sql Object Types Tutorial With Examples

What is Object Type in PL/SQL?

Object-Oriented Programming is especially suited for building reusable components and complex applications. They are organized around “objects” rather than “actions” i.e. the programs are designed to work and interact with the entire object rather than the single action. This concept allows the programmer to populate and manipulate the details at object entities level.

Below picture depicts an example of the object type in which a bank account is considered an object entity. The object attributes include things which are holding some attribute values, for example in Bank Account; it is Account number, bank balance, etc. while object methods describe the things like calculating interest rate, generating bank statement, etc. which requires certain process to be completed.

In PL/SQL object-oriented programming is based on object types.

An object type can represent any real-world entity. We are going to discuss more object types in this chapter.

In this tutorial – you will learn,

Components of Object Types

PL/SQL object type contains mainly two components.




Attributes are the column or field in which data are stored. Each attribute will be mapped to the datatype that defines the processing and storage type for that attribute. The attribute can be of any valid PL/SQL datatype, or it can be of another object type.


Members or Methods are subprograms that is defined in the object type. They are not used to store any data. They are mainly used to define process inside the object type. For examples validating data before populating the object type. They are declared in the object type section and defined in the object type body section of the object type. Body section in object type is an optional part. If no members are present, then an object type will contain no body part.

Create Object in Oracle

An Object type cannot be created at subprogram level, They can be created only at the schema level. Once the object type is defined in the schema, then the same can be used in subprograms. The object type can be created using ‘CREATE TYPE’. The type body can be created only after creating its object type.

( . . ); / ( IS BEGIN END;‭ . . ‬ ); /

Syntax Explanation:

The above syntax shows the creation of ‘OBJECT’ with attributes and ‘OBJECT-BODY’ with methods.

The methods can also be overloaded in the object body.

Declaration Initialization of Object Type

Like other components in PL/SQL, object types are also needed to be declared before using them in the program.

Once the object type is created it can be used in subprogram declarative section to declare a variable of that object type.

Whenever any variable is declared in the subprogram as object type, at run-time a new instance of the object type will be created, and this newly created instance can be referred to the variable name. By this way, a single object type can store multiple values under different instances.


Syntax Explanation:

The above syntax shows the declaration of a variable as an object type in the declarative section.

Once the variable is declared as an object type in a subprogram, it will be atomically null i.e. the entire object itself a null. It needs to be initialized with values to use them in the program. They can be initialized using constructors.

Constructors are the implicit method of an object that can be referred with the same name as that of the object type. The below syntax shows the initialization of the object type.


Syntax Explanation:

The above syntax shows the initialization of the object type instance with a null value.

Now the object itself is not null as it has been initialized, but the attributes inside the object will be null as we have not assigned any values to these attributes.


Constructors are the implicit method of an object that can be referred with the same name as that of the object type. Whenever the object is referred for the first time, this constructor will be called implicitly.

We can also initialize the objects using these constructor. The constructor can be defined explicitly by defining the member in object type body with the same name of the object type.

Example 1: In the following example we are going to use the object type member to insert the record into emp table with values (‘RRR’, 1005, 20000, 1000) and (‘PPP’, 1006, 20000, 1001). Once the data is inserted, we are going to display the same using object type member. We are also going to use the explicit constructor to populate the manager id by default with 1001 value for the second record.

We are going to execute it in below steps.


Create Object type

Object type body

Step2: Creating an anonymous block to call created object type through implicit constructor for emp_no 1005.

Step3: Creating an anonymous block to call created object type through explicit constructor for emp_no 1006.

Step 1) Create Object type and Object type body

CREATE TYPE emp_object AS OBJECT( emp_no NUMBER, emp_name VARCHAR2(50), salary NUMBER, manager NUMBER, CONSTRUCTOR FUNCTION emp_object(p_emp_no NUMBER, p_emp_name VARCHAR2, p_salary NUMBER) RETURN SELF AS RESULT), MEMBER PROCEDURE insert_records, MEMBER PROCEDURE display_records); /

CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE BODY emp_object AS CONSTRUCTOR FUNCTION emp_object(p_emp_no NUMBER,p_emp_name VARCHAR2, p_salary NUMBER) RETURN SELF AS RESULT IS BEGIN Dbms_output.put_line(’Constructor fired..'); SELF.emp_name:=p_emp_name; SELF.salary:=p_salary; SELF.managerial:=1001; RETURN; END: MEMBER PROCEDURE insert_records IS BEGIN INSERT INTO emp VALUES(emp_noemp_name,salary,manager); END MEMBER PROCEDURE display_records IS BEGIN END: END: /

Code Explanation

Code line 1-9: Creating the ’emp_object’ object type with 4 attributes and 3 members. It contains the definition of constructors with only 3 parameters. (Actual implicit constructor will contain the number of parameters equal to the number of attributes present in the object type)

Code line 10: Creating the type body.

Code line 11-21: Defining the explicit constructor. Assigning the parameter value to the attributes and assigning the value for attribute ‘manager’ with the default value ‘1001’.

Code line 22-26: Defining the member ‘insert_records’ in which the attributes values are inserted into ’emp’ table.

Code line 27-34: Defining the member ‘display_records’ in which displaying the values of the object type attributes.


Type created

Type body created

Step 2) Creating anonymous block to call created object type through implicit constructor for emp_no 1005

DECLARE guru_emp_det emp_object; BEGIN guru_emp_det:=emp_object(1005,’RRR',20000,1000); guru_emp_det.display_records; guru_emp_det.insert_records; COMMIT; END;

Code Explanation

Code line 37-45: Inserting the records using the implicit constructor. Call to constructor contains the actual number of attributes values.

Code line 38: Declares the guru_emp_det as object type of ’emp_object’.

Code line 41: Statement ‘guru_emp_det.display_records’ called the ‘diplay_records’ member function and the attributes values are displayed

Code line 42: Statement ‘guru_emp_det.insert_records’ called the ‘insert_records’ member function and the attributes values are inserted into the table.


Employee Name: RRR

Employee Number: 1005

Salary: 20000

Manager : 1000

Step 3) Creating anonymous block to call created object type through explicit constructor for emp_no 1006

DECLARE guru_emp_det emp_object; BEGIN guru_emp_det:=emp_object(1006,'PPP',20000); guru_emp_det.display_records; guru_emp_det.insert_records; COMMIT; END; /


Employee Name:PPP Employee Number:1006 Salary:20000 Manager:1001

Code Explanation:

Code line 46-53: Inserting the records using the explicit constructor.

Code line 46: Declares the guru_emp_det as object type of ’emp_object’.

Code line 50: Statement ‘guru_emp_det.display_records’ called the ‘display_records’ member function and the attributes values are displayed

Code line 51: Statement ‘guru_emp_det.insert_records’ called the ‘insert_records’ member function and the attributes values are inserted into the table.

Inheritance in Object Type

Inheritance property allows the sub-object type to access all the attribute and members of the super object type or parent object type.

The sub-object type is called inherited object type, and the super object type is called parent object type. The below syntax shows the how to create parent and inherited object type.

( . . )NOT FINAL; /

Syntax Explanation:

The above syntax show the creation of SUPER type.

( . ); /

Syntax Explanation:

The above syntax shows creation of SUB type. It contains all the members and attributes from the parent object type.

Example1: In the below example, we are going to use the inheritance property to insert the record with manager id as ‘1002’ for the following record (‘RRR’, 1007, 20000).

We are going to execute the above program in the following steps

Step1: Create SUPER type.

Step2: Create SUB type and body.

Step3: Creating an anonymous block to call the SUB type.

Step 1) Create SUPER type or Parent type.

CREATE TYPE emp_object AS OBJECT( emp_no NUMBER, emp_name VARCHAR2(50), salary NUMBER, manager NUMBER, CONSTRUCTOR FUNCTION emp_object(p_emp_no NUMBER,p_emp_name VARCHAR2(50), p_salary NUMBER)RETURN SELF AS RESULT), MEMBER PROCEDURE insert_records, MEMBER PROCEDURE display_records)NOT FINAL; /

Code Explanation:

Code line 1-9: Creating the ’emp_object’ object type with 4 attributes and 3 members. It contains the definition of constructors with only 3 parameters. It has been declared as ‘NOT FINAL’ so it is parent type.

Step 2) Create SUB type under SUPER type.

CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE sub_emp_object UNDER emp_object (default_manager NUMBER,MEMBER PROCEDURE insert_default_mgr); / CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE BODY sub_emp_object AS MEMBER PROCEDURE insert_default_mgr IS BEGIN INSERT INTO emp VALUES(emp_no,emp_name:salary,manager): END; END; /

Code Explanation:

Code line 10-13: Creating the sub_emp_object as inherited type with additional one attribute ‘default_manager’ and member procedure declaration.

Code line 14: Creating the body for the inherited object type.

Code line 16-21: Defining the member procedure which is inserting the records into “emp” table with the values from ‘SUPER’ object type, except for manager value. For manager value, it is using the ‘default_manager’ from ‘SUB’ type.

Step 3) Creating anonymous block to call the SUB type

DECLARE guru_emp_det sub_emp_object; BEGIN guru_emp_det:= sub_emp_object(1007,'RRR',20000,1000,1002); guru_emp_det.insert_default_mgr; COMMIT; END; /

Code Explanation:

Code line 25: Declaring ‘guru_emp_det’ as ‘sub_emp_object’ type.

Code line 27: Initializing the object with the implicit constructor. The constructor is having 5 parameters (4 attributes from PARENT type and 2 attributes from SUB type). The last parameter (1002)defines the value for default_manager attribute

Code line 28: Calling the member ‘insert_default_mgr’ to insert the records with the default manager id passed in the constructor.

Equality of PL/SQL Objects

The object instance that belongs to the same objects can be compared for equality. For this, we need to have the special method in the object type called ‘ORDER’ method.

This ‘ORDER’ method should be the function that returns numerical type. It takes two parameters as input, (first parameter: id of the self-object instance, second parameter: id of another object instance).

The id of the two object instance is compared, and the result is returned in numerical.

Positive value represents that the SELF object instance is greater than another instance.

Negative value represents that the SELF object instance is lesser than another instance.

Zero represents that the SELF object instance is equal to another instance.

If any of the instances is null, then this function will return null.

( RETURN INTEGER IS BEGIN RETURN -1; --any negative number will do RETURN 1; —any positive number will do ELSE RETURN 0; END IF; END; . . ); /

Syntax Explanation:

The above syntax shows the ORDER function that needs to be included in the type body for equality check.

The parameter for this function should be an instance of the same object type.

The above function can be called as “obj_instance_1.match(obj_instance_2)” and this expression will return the numerical value as shown, where obj_instance_1 and obj_instance_2 are the instance of object_type_name.

Example1: In the following example we are going to see how to compare two objects. We are going to create two instances and we are going to compare attribute ‘salary’ between them. We are going to do int two steps.

Step 1: Creating the Object type and body.

Step 2: Creating the anonymous block to call compare the object instance.

Step 1) Creating the Object type and body.

CREATE TYPE emp_object_equality AS OBJECT( salary NUMBER, ORDER MEMBER FUNCTION equals(c emp_object_equality)RETURN INTEGER); / CREATE TYPE BODY emp_object_equality AS ORDER MEMBER FUNCTION equals(c emp_object_equality)RETURN INTEGER IS BEGIN‭ ‬ IF salary<c.salary THEN RETURN -1; THEN RETURN 1; ELSE RETURN 0; END IF:‭ ‬ END; END; /

Code Explanation:

Code line 1-4: Creating the ’emp_object_equality’ object type with 1 attributes and 1 member.

Code line 6-16: Defining the ORDER function which compares the ‘salary’ attribute of SELF instance and parameter instance type. It returns negative if SELF salary is lesser or positive if SELF salary is greater and 0 if salaries are equal.

Code Output:

Type created

Step 2) Creating the anonymous block to call compare the object instance.

DECLARE l_obj_l emp_object_equality; l_obj_2 emp_object_equality; BEGIN l_obj_l:=emp_object_equality(15000); l_obj_2:=emp_object_equality(17000); THEN Dbms_output.put_line(’Salary of first instance is greater’): ELSIF l_obj_l.equalS(l_obj_2)<0 THEN Dbms_output.put_line(’Salary of second instance is greater’); ELSE Dbms_output.put_line(’Salaries are equal’); END IF; END; /


Salary of second instance is greater

Code Explanation:

Code line 20: Declaring the l_obj_1 of emp_object_equality type.

Code line 21: Declaring the l_obj_2 of emp_object_equality type.

Code line 23: Initializing l_obj_1 with salary value as ‘15000’

Code line 24: Initializing l_obj_1 with salary value as ‘17000’

Code line 25-33: Print the message based on the return number from the ORDER function.


In this chapter, we have seen the object type and their properties. We have also discussed about Constructors, Members, Attributes, Inheritance and Equality in PL/SQL objects.

How Nasa Is Planning To Touch The Sun

Like the previous image, this one, captured between May 14 and 18, 2024, shows even more active regions spread across the solar surface. To capture it, the SDO focused on an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that makes the image dark red instead of yellow. Unlike other images of the Sun’s activity, this one allows us to see it across the whole surface. In video form , it shows how the Sun looks like a churning ball of fire.

An explosion on the sun shoots fiery plasma out into space. NASA

Our sun might not seem as enigmatic as more exotic, distant stars, but it’s still a marvelously mysterious miasma of incandescent plasma. And it’s certainly worthy of our scientific attention: Curiosity aside, a violent solar event could disrupt satellites and cause $2 trillion in damages for the U.S. alone. Yet, despite living in its atmosphere, we don’t understand some of its defining phenomena. For sixty years, we haven’t understood why the surface is a cozy 5,500 Celsius, while the halo called the corona—several million kilometers away from the star’s surface and 12 orders of magnitude less dense—boasts a positively sizzling 1-2 million Celsius.

To figure out why, NASA needs to fly a little closer to the sun—and touch it.

We know that magnetic reconnection—when magnetic field lines moving in opposite directions intertwine and snap like rubber bands—propels nuclear weapon-like waves of energy away from surface. Meanwhile, magnetohydrodynamic waves—vibrating guitar string-like waves of magnetic force driven by the flow of plasma—transfer energy from the surface into corona. However, without more data, our understanding of phenomena like coronal heating and solar wind acceleration remain largely theoretical…but not for long.

Launching in 2023, NASA’s Solar Probe Plus will travel nearly seven years, setting a new record for fastest moving object as it zips 37.6 million kilometers closer to the sun than any spacecraft that has ever studied our host star. But what manner of sensory equipment does one bring to Dante’s Inferno?

From top left: the FIELDS experiment, ISIS, WISPR, SWEAP NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Spacecraft systems engineer Mary Kae Lockwood tells PopSci that the craft will rely on four main instruments. The Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons systems, or SWEAP, will monitor charges created by colliding electrons, protons and helium ions to analyze solar wind—ninety times closer to the sun than previous attempts. Similarly, the ISIS (Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun) employs a state-of-the-art detection system to analyze energetic particles (think: cancer-causing, satellite-disabling particles).

The FIELDS sensor, meanwhile, will analyze electric and magnetic fields, radio emissions, and shock waves—while gathering information on the high-speed dust particles sanding away at the craft using a technique discovered by accident. Lastly, the Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe, or WISPR telescope, will make 3D, cat-scan-like images of solar wind and the sun’s atmosphere.

There’s just one problem. Between intense heat, solar radiation, high-energy particles, the fallout of solar storms, dust, and limited communication opportunities at closest approach, all that sensitive equipment is going to an environment that almost makes Juno’s new home look sympathetic by comparison.

“One of the things we had to watch out for in the design,” according to Lockwood, was the electrical “charging” of the spacecraft by the solar wind. The probe has to be conductive “so that the instruments that are actually measuring the solar wind don’t have interference.”

The probe’s planned trajectory NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

To get close enough to worry about that, though, the probe’s has to “lose some energy” says Lockwood, performing several Venus flybys to shrink its orbit “[allowing] us to get . . . closer and closer to the sun.”

However, that comes with “interesting design challenges, because you’re not only going into the sun” as heatshield mechanical engineer Beth Congdon tells PopSci. “You get hot on approach, and then come out and get cold,” over and over for 7 flybys and 24 orbits. “You actually need to have it cyclically survive hot and cold temperatures.” And high energy particles. And hypervelocity dust. For that, you need a heat shield “different from any other heat shield that has ever existed.”

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

The incandescent elephant in the room

“A lot of heat shields you typically think about, like the shuttle . . . They have a few minutes maximum of that kind of heat.” But at the probe’s closest approach of 5.9 million kilometers, Congdon says, temperatures will reach up to 1,377 Celsius for a full day.

But carbon can come to the rescue. “On Earth, carbon likes to oxidise and make barbeque,” chimes Congdon, “[but] in the vacuum of space, it’s a great material for high temperature applications. The probe’s shield is made of carbon foam, sandwiched between layers of carbon composite, with a reflective ceramic coating.

What’s more, she says, most shields have the luxury of being attached to a vibration-dampening platform. This shield, on the other hand, had to be integrated in such a way that it could mitigate vibration without one “so that we could keep the whole system as low mass as possible.” The slim, trim, and ultralight build, however, makes it challenging to keep all the sensitive equipment hidden safely behind it.

To that end, the craft is outfitted with solar limb sensors. These sensors would be the first thing to get illuminated if the spacecraft started drifting off-kilter, and would inform the autonomous guidance and control system that keeps all the instruments behind the thermal protection system, and which is even outfitted with a backup processor in case of any malfunctions.

Meanwhile, the solar array, facing solar intensity 475 times greater than here on Earth—in an environment where “one degree of change, at closest approach, equals a 30 percent change in power”—will automatically retract behind the heat shield whenever it swings toward the sun. From there, it’ll be kept at a cool 160 Celsius by a network of water-filled titanium channels.

So while the heatshield weathers a minefield of million-mile-per-hour winds and countless coronal mass ejections, the communication system scarcely able to relay information for 11 straight days, the array will be kept comfortable—all while powering an autonomous 1,345 lb scientist on the doorstep of our little cosmic neighborhood’s big, confounding catalyst.

“Going to a place changes everything we think about a place. Just look at New Horizons and how it’s changed our thoughts, beliefs, and understanding of Pluto. We’re really excited to go and totally change our view of the sun,” says Congdon. Understanding the sun’s defining phenomena is a tantalizing goal. But first we have to contend with 143.3 million kilometers of space—and one of NASA’s most technically challenging builds, over half a century in the making.

Why Ibm, Microsoft And Sap Like Oracle’s Apple Strategy With Sun

Earlier this week I got word that Oracle was ceasing the Sun Solaris licensing deals with other hardware vendors. This reminded me a great deal of what Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple and killed the Apple clone business.

In both cases it reflects a realization that a company cannot effectively create competition for a prime chúng tôi Apple’s case, Apple was a hardware company and had no business even trying to be a software company unless it was willing to give up hardware. Sun’s last CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, seemed to be trying to turn Sun into a software company but his effort stalled someplace in the middle and Sun foundered.

Oracle is clearly a software company, yet it seems that with the Sun acquisition, suddenly they seem to think they are Apple — but they aren’t.While Oracle is certainly much better run than Sun was, and Apple was before Steve Jobs return, wouldn’t they have as much trouble transitioning to a hardware model as Sun did going the other way?

On the other hand the desktop side of the technology industry is certainly moving to tight vertical integration and Cisco seems to be on a similar path on the IT side of this market.Maybe Oracle is onto something. Let’s explore this.

Sun had a leadership problem, Larry Ellison is pretty hard on Jonathan Schwartz but he really failed to point to the cause of the issue, which was that Jonathan was the wrong guy to lead Sun.Schwartz was a software guy and Sun was a hardware company.

If you’ve ever worked with both groups you’ll quickly learn that they don’t really talk the same language. They rarely get along chúng tôi take someone with a particular expertise and put them in to lead a company and they will likely try to turn that company into a form they recognize.

Schwartz tried to turn Sun into a software company and started licensing out the key technology, much like Microsoft does very chúng tôi he needed to transition the company from one model to the other quickly. And if your followers can’t understand you and you don’t understand the major portion of your existing business then you won’t be successful. And saying Schwartz failed is a gross understatement.

The only other way to do this would be to spin out the software unit as a different chúng tôi worked better for Palm initially but the end result for them was that both units eventually chúng tôi was partially because they waited too long and the market had moved away from PDAs and partially because first software and then hardware executed poorly.

Apple went the other way and stopped the transition into a software company and doubled down on hardware. However, they likely might have still failed if it hadn’t been for the iPod which was enough of a success to return the firm to success and profitability.

Still, the iPod was a hardware product and this would indicate that the most successful path would be to retrench as a hardware company, and look for other hardware products that the market wants and not switch focus to software.

I’m calling vertical integration one of the big trends for this decade. We’ve seen Microsoft increasingly drift over into hardware, most recently with the Kin phone, HP just picked up an OS with the purchase of Palm, and Apple has started to actually design their own chips with the A4 used in the iPad.

Cisco just bought their own design house (Moto) and has been building an IT focused vertical around the Cloud (servers + networking) for chúng tôi is starting to look like a game of musical chairs where the company that builds a horizontal stack that is left without a dedicated vertical once the music stops will be the loser.

In a way this is feeling like a return to the IBM years, where you would go to one company for an entire solution.

But Oracle’s goal appears to be to create Apple-like products for the data center in terms of data appliances that are effectively plug and play.Granted they will likely be assembled to the specifications of the IT organization that buys them. But Oracle likely will maintain the result and because they are relatively standard, this could result in lower acquisition and maintenance costs for the buyer and higher margins for Oracle.

But this doesn’t come without risk.

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