NASA to Launch Spacecraft Closer to Sun

09 August, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • In Just One Week, NASA Will Launch a Spacecraft to 'Touch the Sun'

NASA is just a week away from launching its next science mission, a spacecraft called the Parker Solar Probe that will eventually "touch the sun".

In 2025, the Parker Solar Probe will get as close to the sun's surface as it can - 6 million kilometers, meaning that the probe will fly through the hot corona.

"By making direct in-situ measurements of the sun's atmosphere and immediate surroundings, Parker Solar Probe is poised to redefine solar and heliospheric physics as we now understand them", McComas said.

To get to the sun, the probe must be launched with a massive rocket, so that it will be lifted quickly from Earth.

"The answers could be crucial to scientists' understanding of how stars beyond our solar system work" says, adding that "closer to home, the probe's work should also help scientists understand and predict the hazards of living near a star" including why solar activity can interfere with communications and navigation systems.

Their first close encounter is slated for November 5, when the Parker spacecraft will begin its approach to the sun.

The spacecraft has undergone a brutal regimen of testing at the APL and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The mission is expected to include 24 orbits around the sun over a period of seven years.

The sandwich-like layers of foam and carbon fiber, further insulated and strengthened with special coats of paint, create an incredible lightweight defense against the extreme temperatures the probe will encounter as it flies within 4 million miles of the sun's surface.

Dr Nicky Fox, project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, said: "We've been studying the Sun for decades, and now we're finally going to go where the action is". The FIELDS instrument suite, a series of antennas and magnetometers, will measure shape and scale of the corona's electric and magnetic fields. If things go as per plan, NASA said that at a United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy rocket, probe will take off aboard, on 11 of August early in the morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The mission was named after Eugene Newman Parker, a physicist who proposed a number of concepts about how stars give off energy.



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