NASA is all set to start a historic mission to the Sun. NASA ‘s The Parker Solar Probe will get closer to the star than any mission before. While its name may remind you of a superhero, so will its work. Parker will be skirting within about 6 million kilometers of the star’s surface – more than seven times as close as any previous spacecraft – at a speed of about 700,000 kilometers per hour, making the craft the fastest human made object in the solar system. The spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on August 4.
NASA says that the mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds. Parker Solar Probe will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions.
Parker Solar Probe which is about the size of a car, will trace how energy and heat move through the Sun’s atmosphere and explore what accelerates the solar wind and solar energetic particles. Parker Solar Probe will be carrying four instrument suites designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind. This spacecraft is protected by carbon-composite shield which will allow it to tolerate temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 1400 C.
The craft will be using Venus’ gravitational pull to gradually shrink its orbit. Parker will fly to about 24 million kilometers from the sun’s surface on its first round around the Sun and will gradually reach as near as 6 million kilometers to Sun’s surface. The probe will circle the sun 24 times in a span of about 6-7 years during the mission.
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