Solar probe to fly closer to sun than ever before

14 August, 2018, 23:14 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
  • Parker Solar Probe

"We'll also be the fastest human-made object ever, travelling around the Sun at speeds of up to 690,000km/h (430,000mph) - NY to Tokyo in under a minute!" she told BBC News.

"What's so cool about all of this is hanging out with Parker and seeing his emotion", Zurbuchen said, adding that Parker went from being excited about the launch to being excited about the science to come.

A last-minute technical problem Saturday delayed NASA's unprecedented flight to the sun.

Justin Kasper, a project scientist and professor at the University of MI, said: 'The Parker Solar Probe will help us do a much better job of predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth'. A special component of SWEAP is a small instrument that will look around the protective heat shield of the spacecraft directly at the sun, the only instrument on the spacecraft to do so.

It was 60 years ago when Eugene Parker, the 91-yearold astrophysicist after whom the spacecraft is named, first proposed the existence of solar wind - a steady, supersonic stream of particles blasting off the sun.

By coming closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history, the unmanned probe's main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around the Sun. This is the agency's first mission to the sun and its outermost atmosphere, the corona. This first flyby will place Parker Solar Probe in position in early November to fly as close as 15 million miles from the Sun - within the blazing solar atmosphere, known as the corona - closer than anything made by humanity has ever gone before. That probably sounds like a bad idea, blasting something into the sun, the ideal sphere of unfathomably hot plasma at the centre of our solar system.

They are also curious about the solar winds that sometimes disrupt satellite and ground communications.

A heat shield has been created to keep Parker's instruments at a tolerable 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius.

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When it nears the Sun, the probe will travel at some 430,000 miles per hours - the fastest ever human-made object, fast enough to travel from NY to Tokyo in one minute.

She urged the spacecraft to "go touch the sun!" The shield's front surface will be able to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft up to 2,500 degree Fahrenheit.

When will the Parker Solar Probe be launched? So Parker will be the first space ship that close to the solar surface.

"I realise that might not sound that close, but imagine the Sun and the Earth were a metre apart".

"The Alfvén point is the distance from the Sun beyond which the charged particles that make up the solar wind are no longer in contact with the surface of the Sun", Kristopher Klein, co-investigator for the probe and University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Lab assistant professor, said in a statement.

Parker's equations predicted the solar wind, but six decades later, scientists can't precisely explain the physics driving its acceleration or the corona's extreme heating. "Where we see huge magnetic fields that are passing by us, as coronal mass ejections make their way out into the solar system".

The craft was supposed to be launched yesterday but it was cancelled due to a helium gas sensor that surpassed a launch limit on the Delta IV-Heavy rocket, United Launch Alliance said.

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