Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

NASA ready for trip to the sun

NASA ready for trip to the sun

The Parker Solar Probe, named after American solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will, as the United States space agency describes it, "touch the sun" as it flies within 3.9 million miles of the star's surface. It's the fastest any man-made object will have ever traveled and the probe will likely hold that title for a long time.

Over the course of about seven years, the spacecraft will orbit the sun about 24 times, eventually flying just 3.8 million miles above the star's surface at its closest point.

At its closest approach, the probe will be just 3.8 million miles above the sun's surface. The $1.5-billion, car-sized spacecraft is created to provide a close look at the sun's atmosphere - what astronomers call the corona - to answer enduring questions about this ultra-hot region of our nearest star."We'll be going where no spacecraft has dared go before - within the corona of a star", project scientist Nicola Fox of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, said in a written statement. The goal is to collect data and images on the sun's atmosphere, called the "corona", Engadget reports.

Earth, and all the other objects in the Solar System are constantly plowing through what is known as the solar wind - a constant stream of high-energy particles, mostly protons and electrons, hurled into space by The Sun.


Nasa's new solar spacecraft is so indestructable that parts of it will be circling the Sun until the Solar System ends, eight billion years from now, scientists have said.

"Since Parker Solar Probe will skim through the sun's atmosphere, it only needs to drop 53,000 miles per hour of sideways motion to reach its destination, but that's no easy feat", NASA notes.

The craft comes equipped with a thick shield made of carbon composite foam and carbon fiber.

As NASA explains, the probe's first challenge will be to cancel out the speed at which the earth is moving in relation to the sun.

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