Nasa Launches Historic Probe To 'touch Sun'

14 August, 2018, 23:15 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • Parker Solar Probe

Parker will then go into position in early November to fly to 15 million miles from the sun right within the solar atmosphere, known as the corona.

Knowing more about the solar wind and space storms will also help protect future deep space explorers as they journey toward the Moon or Mars.

"We've accomplished something that decades ago, lived exclusively in the realm of science fiction", he added, describing the probe as one of NASA's "strategically important" missions. While the probe was initially set to launch on Saturday, NASA was prompted to delay it due to technical hurdles.

Aram....what's the latest? Well Mark...after a one-day delay, NASA's Parker Solar Probe successfully lifted off on Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is now on its way to the Sun.

The 8-foot (2.4-metre) heat shield will serve as an umbrella that will shade the spacecraft's scientific instruments, with on-board sensors adjusting the protective cover as necessary so that nothing gets fried.

Looking on at the launch was astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who first theorised the existence of the solar wind in 1958.

"The only way we can do that is to finally go up and touch the sun", the $1.5 billion mission's project scientist, Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, told reporters in advance of today's launch.


The unmanned spacecraft aims to get closer than any human-made object in history to the center of our solar system.

Nasa has launched a spacecraft to the sun that will fly closer to our star than anything ever sent before.

An artist's depiction of the Parker Solar Probe at work around the sun. Those events can affect satellites and astronauts as well as the Earth - including power grids and radiation exposure on airline flights, NASA said.

The mission, which hopes to uncover the Sun's mysteries, will accumulate a gamut of data about its structure and magnetic and electric fields, as well as the energetic particles cruising near and away from Earth's star.

Consisting of two layers of carbon-carbon composite sandwiched around carbon foam, the front of the shield, coated with white ceramic paint, will withstand temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurling a spacecraft to the sun can actually make sense.

Eastern time from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket sporting a rare third stage, giving it extra oomph to boost the payload into an interplanetary trajectory. Subsequently, this will help scientists to understand the principles of interaction of the corona of the Sun the photosphere and the upper layers of the star, and figure out how to form particles of the solar wind. "The energy of that (launch) vehicle, the huge size, and when you realize how tiny the Parker Solar Probe satellite is, and you have this big vehicle around it, it's just mind boggling".

Parker Solar Probe carries four instrument suites created to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and capture images of the solar wind. It is only by getting this close to the sun that we have a chance of answering definitely what accelerates the wind. "Parker Solar Probe will enable groundbreaking research, making space a safer to be".

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