Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
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NASA to launch solar probe that will study the sun's atmosphere

NASA to launch solar probe that will study the sun's atmosphere

The $1.6-billion mission aims to improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth as well as astronauts in space, NASA said.

Designed at Johns Hopkins University, the Solar Parker Probe will depart on the 11th from Cape Canaveral (the main center of USA space activities) on a mission that will last seven years and analyze the solar wind.

The spacecraft will be six million kilometers from the solar surface and will travel up to 150 million kilometers from Earth.

It will make its final approach in 2025 where it will come within 4 million miles of the sun's surface.

"Previous missions have been really important for solar science as we study from afar - and we can learn a lot from studying from afar - but Parker Solar Probe is actually going and touching, nearly kissing the sun, so we can learn so much more", said Elizabeth Congdon, the thermal protection system lead engineer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.


As the Inquisitr previously reported, the spacecraft will be protected from the sun's scorching rays by a state-of-the-art heat shield made out of carbon composite foam encased in carbon plates.

This will enable the probe to work on three main questions: why its atmosphere becomes hotter farther away from the surface of the Sun, how the solar wind of charged particles streaming out into space is born, and what causes the very big outbursts scientists call coronal mass ejections.

The spacecraft also has radiators that pump water from the solar shield to the side of the spacecraft, where it can radiate heat out to the cold background of space.

She added: "We've been studying the Sun for decades, and now we're finally going to go where the action is". The probe will be the first NASA project named for a living scientist. As particles within the corona gets frequently heated and shoot out from the Solar System's star, which is called "solar wind". "Particles of the solar wind, particles of the solar atmosphere, as well as electromagnetic fields".

McComas plans to be at Cape Canaveral for the launch of the Parker Space Probe. In launch power, the Delta IV Heavy rocket is right after the new Falcon Heavy rocket - which is the most powerful rocket at the moment. "It's probably the best launch you could see".

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