NASA's Mission To The Sun Cleared For Saturday Launch

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

It's NASA's long-planned attempt to "Touch the Sun" and the probe will get far closer to our host star than any man-made object ever has.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP), which is set to launch August 11, will give scientists an up-close view of the corona as it flies within 3.8 million miles of the Sun's surface.

But the Parker Solar Probe was built to do just that.

"This is a journey into never-never land, you might say, where it's too hot for any sensible spacecraft to function", Parker told Johns Hopkins' Fox in a recent interview. It's expected to make the first Venus pass at the end of September.

The probe will conduct 24 orbits to approach the sun.

There are missions that are studying the solar wind, but we're going to get to the birthplace.

But the Parker Solar Probe will hopefully have no such issue, thanks to a state-of-the-art heat shield that not only can courageous the blistering heat of the sun, but will also make sure the spacecraft stays cool, the Inquisitr previously reported.

Space scientists have spent decades trying to understand how energy moves through the corona and what drives the flow of charged particles that the sun continuously casts off.

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Nasa aims to collect data about the highly magnetised corona.

The launch window opens bright and early on Saturday morning, at 3:33 a.m. EDT, and lasts for 65 minutes. "This rocket, in the span of just a few minutes, less than an hour, will send the spacecraft on its mission out to the Sun to literally fly through the corona - an absolutely fantastic technological feat".

In order to reach an orbit around the sun, the Parker Solar Probe will take seven flybys of Venus that will essentially give a gravity assist, shrinking its orbit over the course of almost seven years.

It's important to learn as much as possible about the sun and how it produces space weather because Earth is inside the atmosphere of the sun.

After it launches, the probe will travel at a record-breaking 430,000 miles per hour, the fastest speed ever achieved by a spacecraft. "We want to see all the different things that the sun throws at us".

The mission dates back to a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal in 1958 by Dr. Eugene Parker, the mission's namesake.

To protect the suite of science instruments created to unlock answers about the solar corona and solar wind, Parker is a compact, but strong spacecraft. It will also carry more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public that will eventually "orbit the sun forever", Fox said. Among the properties that it will be measuring regularly are the electric and magnetic fields present, along with the velocity, density, and temperature of particles that typically make up solar wind-protons, electrons, and heavier ionized nuclei.

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