NASA sending spacecraft straight into sun’s glittering crown

NASA sending spacecraft straight into sun’s glittering crown

The Parker probe, which will venture the nearest ever to the Sun to study its atmosphere, will be launched on August 11th.

Scientists will launch a rocket carrying the "Parker Solar Probe" at 3:33 a.m. Saturday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"Stay tuned - Parker is about to take flight", NASA announced today in a news release, which summarized the solar probe's mission and the eight year-long effort it took to finally see it soar to the heavens. That stream of particles is now known as the solar wind.

Giacolene says that advancements in technology will pave the way for new exploration and new discoveries.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's unique expertise in sun-viewing telescopes will be an integral part of the historic NASA Parker Solar Probe mission scheduled to launch August 11 to better understand how the Sun affects our solar system.

The solar wind, as well as other stellar hiccups like the giant outbursts of plasma that scientists call solar flares and coronal mass ejections, cause a range of phenomena dubbed space weather.

The spacecraft will hit 690,000 kph in the corona at closest approach.

Six weeks after launch, the probe will encounter Venus' gravity for the first time. Zurbuchen and Fox also presented Parker with NASA's distinguished public service medal.




This is not the first mission to study the Sun, but none of the previous devices did not even come close to the source of light and heat so close - only 6 million kilometers.

Of course, the PSP is more than a collection of instruments.* It's headed straight for regions reaching up to 2500° F and, at its fastest, it will reach 430,000 miles per hour-giving it the record for fastest spacecraft ever!

"And it needs to be, because it takes an huge amount of energy to get to our final orbit around the Sun", Driesman added.

The probe is named after pioneering solar physicist Dr. Eugene Parker, who first theorized the existence of the solar wind.

The goal for the Parker Solar Probe is to make 24 passes through the corona during its seven-year mission. "To send it into such brutal conditions is highly ambitious", said Nicola Fox, a project scientist from the Johns Hopkins University applied physics laboratory.

Just thinking about this $1.5 billion undertaking is awe-inspiring all by itself, however, the mission will be historic in a number of ways, too.

Parker's final trip around the sun will be in 2025. It will also carry more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public that will eventually "orbit the sun forever", Fox said. Talk of such a solar probe, he said, "probably goes back at least 40 years". We've looked at it. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what's going on in the solar wind.

"I'm sure that there will be some surprises", Parker said.

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