Brett Sapper has the unique responsibility of controlling Nasa's eye on the Sun. From a modest office in the agency's Goddard Space Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, Sapper is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a satellite equipped with high-speed cameras capable of registering the Sun's activity nearly without interruptions.
Launched in 2010 from Cape Canaveral, SDO has already been able to beam back 140 million images of the Sun, and some estimates predict that it will end up transmitting as much as 50 times more scientific information than any other mission in Nasa's history.
Researchers hope this massive amount of data will help them forecast the effects of our turbulent star's behaviour on Earth. Intense solar activity can knock out power grids, GPS navigations and radio communications.