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Why is Space Cold Despite the Sun's High Temperature?

The sun, with its high temperature, is the primary source of heat for the solar system. However, space remains cold, even though the sun is so hot. So why is this the case?

The solar system is different from Earth, and extreme temperatures exist in space. The sun, a gas ball, has a core temperature of 15 million Celsius and a surface temperature of 5,500 Celsius. Meanwhile, outer space, which is far enough from Earth's atmosphere, has a temperature of -270 Celsius.

So, why does space remain cold despite the sun being so hot? The answer lies in the process of heat transfer through radiation. Heat, in the form of infrared energy waves, moves through the cosmos, and hotter objects transfer heat to cooler objects. 

However, radiation only distributes heat to molecules or particles that it passes through, leaving the ones that are not passed through cold.

On Earth, heat spreads through three methods: conduction, convection, and radiation. Solar radiation warms up molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, and they pass that extra energy to molecules around them. The transfer of heat from one molecule to another is called conduction, which is the chain reaction of distributing heat outside of the sun's path.

Outer space is a vacuum, and gas molecules in outer space are too few and far apart to meet each other, making it impossible for the sun to distribute heat through infrared waves and through the conduction process. 

Additionally, there is no gravity in outer space, making convection, which is heat transfer through gravity, impossible. As a result, outer space remains cold.

Elizabeth Habel, an engineer/scientist from NASA working on the Parker Solar Probe, designed a spacecraft that is capable of withstanding the sun's temperature. The spacecraft's construction was part of a program to study the sun. 

This design presents a great challenge as some parts of the spacecraft must remain cold to avoid short circuits, while others need to remain hot to function.

In April 2021, NASA's spacecraft successfully approached the sun's atmosphere from a distance of 6.5 million miles, becoming the closest spacecraft ever to the sun.

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