NASA poised to launch first sun-skimming spaceship
NASA poised to launch first sun-skimming spaceship
Parker Solar Probe The spacecraft will be shielded from the Sun's intense heat
10 August, 2018, 17:25
"By understanding exactly how these particles are accelerated we will be able to predict with more reliability when these storms are occurring and how intense they will be", said Mihir Desai, Southwest Research scientist and co-investigator on the Parker Solar Probe.
"It's of fundamental importance for us to be able to predict space weather much the way we predict weather on Earth", explained Alex Young, a solar scientist at NASA. The name of this vehicle being sent to the Sun by NASA is called Parker Solar Probe.
The corona is a "very unusual, unfamiliar environment for us".
This is the first time Nasa has named a mission after a living individual.
At closest approach to the Sun, the front of Parker Solar Probe's solar shield faces temperatures approaching 2,500 F (1,377 C).
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The space agency said the probe will travel to within 3.8 million miles (6.11 million kms) of the sun's surface, within the orbit of Mercury, "closer than any spacecraft has come before".
In this image released by NASA, technicians and engineers perform light bar testing on NASA's Parker Solar Probe at the Astrotech processing facility in Titusville, Florida, near NASA's Kennedy Space Center, on June 5, 2018.
The mission will gather data about the sun's outermost atmosphere known as the corona. The spacecraft is protected by a heat shield that will keep it close to room temperature, about 29 degrees Celsius.
Once there, the probe will be placed in an orbit of just four million miles from the sun where temperatures exceed 1,400 degrees Celsius.
Dr Nicky Fox, project scientist at the John Hopkins University said: "We've been studying the Sun for decades, and now we're finally going to go where the action is".
The spacecraft is expected to make its closest approach to the sun in the year 2024, as it flies 3.9 million miles above the solar surface.
(NASA) - NASA's historic Parker Solar Probe mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
Fox said scientists have already studied the corona "every way imaginable", and a closer look is now needed.
It's created to take solar punishment like never before, thanks to its revolutionary heat shield that's capable of withstanding 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. A series of instruments on board the spacecraft will measure the magnetic and electric fields, plasma waves and high energy particles. The launch is slated Saturday, August 11.
There is also a white light imager, taking pictures of what the spacecraft is about to "plough through", said Fox. The success of the mission was fully investigated for the Spacecraft at Cape Canverell Air Force Station on July 30.
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It will take about seven years to shed all that sideways speed into Venus' well of orbital energy, notes NASA. NASA is tackling this challenge to facilitate the Parker Solar Probe's mission to the Sun's atmosphere .
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