Parker Solar Probe: Nasa launches mission to 'touch the Sun'

Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe

Originally slated to fly in the small hours of Saturday morning, the Parker Solar Probe blasted off Sunday from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 03:31 am EDT / 00:31 PT / 8.31 UMT.

Through this mission, NASA is hoping to solve decades-old mysteries around what accelerates the solar winds that affect Earth and other planets.

The probe is created to plunge into the Sun's mysterious atmosphere, known as the corona, coming within 6.16 million kilometers of its surface during a seven-year mission.

Sensors will make certain the heat shield faces the sun at the right times and it will correct itself if it ends up at the wrong angle.

If all works as planned, the inside of the spacecraft should stay at just 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Altogether, the Parker probe will make 24 close approaches to the sun on the seven-year, $1.5 billion undertaking.

The craft is equipped with a first of it's kind heat shield, and an internal water cooling system that will protect the instruments from the extreme conditions.

It is the first NASA mission to be named for a living researcher.

These solar outbursts are poorly understood, but pack the potential to wipe out power to millions of people.

"The Parker Solar Probe will help us do a much better job of predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth", said Justin Kasper, a project scientist and professor at the University of MI.

More knowledge of solar wind and space storms will also help protect future deep space explorers as they journey toward the Moon or Mars.

"We are ready. We have the flawless payload".

"It was just a matter of sitting out the deniers for four years until the Venus Mariner 2 spacecraft showed that, by golly, there was a solar wind", Parker said earlier this week. "We know the questions we want to answer". Perhaps most important for us humans, the science undertaken with the help of the Parker Solar Probe will likely improve our ability to forecast space weather - including solar flares that can disrupt signals from satellites and, in extreme cases, can even blow out transformers on our terrestrial power grids.

Eugene Parker is a University of Chicago professor emeritus in physics who first proposed the concept of the solar wind.

Parker said he was "impressed" by the Parker Solar Probe, calling it "a very complex machine". Scientists have wanted to build a spacecraft like this for more than 60 years, but only recently did the heat shield technology capable of protecting sensitive instruments become available. It could be due to interactions between electrically charged particles and the sun's powerful magnetic field, or it could be the result of countless "nanoflares" governed by another mechanism.

"I realise that might not sound that close, but imagine the Sun and the Earth were a metre apart". That's "fast enough to get from New York City to Tokyo in under a minute", the agency said.

Notícias recomendadas

  • This is why Meghan Markle keeps hiding her hands in her pocket

    This is why Meghan Markle keeps hiding her hands in her pocket

    Mr Markle said he told Harry: "Maybe it would be better for you guys if I was dead... then you could pretend to be sad".
    Where the states stand on energy plan

    Where the states stand on energy plan

    And under the proposed NEG, the target would be reviewed every five years and could even be lifted, if parliament agreed to do so. However, their emissions will count toward Australia's overall total.

    Trump Calls Omarosa 'A Lowlife' After N-Word Claim Surfaces

    She previously stated in an interview on Friday with NPR that she has heard Trump on an Apprentice tape using the racial slur. While she doesn't provide direct evidence, she cites three unnamed sources who attest to the existence of the tape.
  • Michigan Athletics Looking Into Potential Shoe Sales Violation

    An ESPN report indicated that 23 pairs of team-issued MI shoes were found on the shoe marketplace website StockX. Thirteen pairs of Jordan V MI school-issued shoes were sold for an average price of $3,126.
    Anderson does the damage as India rolled out for 107

    Anderson does the damage as India rolled out for 107

    Earlier, England's top order again failed with openers Keaton Jennings (11) and Alastair Cook (21) falling in successive overs. That brought in Chris Woakes (55 not out ) and alongside Jonny Bairstow he ensured more pain for India .
    Woodland sets PGA record as Championship halted by rain

    Woodland sets PGA record as Championship halted by rain

    Said Woodland: "I have a lot of friends out here, a lot of college teammates, a lot of people from college". The golf course is gettable, I think.
  • Mourinho reveals why he did not use Anthony Martial against Leicester City

    Mourinho reveals why he did not use Anthony Martial against Leicester City

    Lukaku then passed up a golden chance when Schmeichel spread himself well to turn the Belgian's effort over the bar. Just a few days ago FC Barcelona offered Man United more than € 100 million to pry him away from Old Trafford.
    Premier League transfer window winners and losers

    Premier League transfer window winners and losers

    But a return of just two points from their opening three home games meant Tottenham were playing catch-up virtually from the off.
    Tropical storm warning dropped as Hector passes south of Big Isle

    Tropical storm warning dropped as Hector passes south of Big Isle

    HST/1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Hector was located near latitude 16.4 degrees north and longitude 153.9 degrees west. Nevertheless, an outer rain band and some gusty winds could make it to the southern edge of the island through Friday.
  • Sea-Tac Airport Issues Statement After 'Suicidal Male' Crashes Plane

    Sea-Tac Airport Issues Statement After 'Suicidal Male' Crashes Plane

    One witness filmed the plane doing a large loop-the-loop, which they first thought was part of an air show rehearsal. Two F-15 fighter jets took to the air from a base in Portland, Oregon, and were on the scene within minutes.
    Possible hepatitis A exposure reported in Fort Smith, vaccination clinics set

    Possible hepatitis A exposure reported in Fort Smith, vaccination clinics set

    Vaccination clinics are planned in Sebastian County, and shots will be provided at no cost, health officials said. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
    Want healthier sperm? Wear this type of underwear

    Want healthier sperm? Wear this type of underwear

    Men who wear boxers are reportedly more likely to be more fertile than those who wear tight underwear such as briefs. The study found underwear choice could actually be a "key regulator" of sexual development and reproduction.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.