Tags: parker solar probe | touch the sun | spacecraft

Parker Solar Probe: Testing Starts on 'Touch the Sun' Spacecraft

(YouTube/NASA Goddard)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 January 2018 10:38 AM

Parker Solar Probe testing is taking NASA a step closer to fulfilling its vision to “touch the sun,” with strides being made in the mission to send an aircraft skimming through the star’s fiery atmosphere.

According to Tech Times, the spacecraft will be launched from Florida this year and will hurtle past Venus and into a series of orbits around the sun at 725,000 kilometers per hour, coming within four million miles of the solar surface.

It may seem a far way off but that is seven times closer to the sun’s surface than any man-made object has ever come before and the spacecraft will be facing temperatures of around 1,700-degree Celsius.

But first scientists need to get to the launchpad.

Annette Dolbow, who is overseeing the development of the Parker Solar Probe, said the spacecraft has been subjected to a variety of brutal environmental tests to ensure it can handle all the hazards entailed in the forthcoming journey, and there are just a few more tests left before the mission begins, according to The Washington Post.

The aim of the mission is to gather information on solar activity that could help answer pertinent questions such as why the atmosphere of the sun is hotter than its surface and how does the corona expel high-energy particles get into space?

“These are questions we were trying to answer from 93 million miles away,” said Eric Christian, a Goddard physicist, an investigator attached to the probe, Tech Times said.

“But the fact is, you've got to go where the action is in order to really understand what's happening.”

The mission will also prove new data that could help scientists forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth, NASA said.

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Parker Solar Probe testing is taking NASA a step closer to fulfilling its vision to “touch the sun,” with strides being made in the mission to send an aircraft skimming through the star’s fiery atmosphere.
parker solar probe, touch the sun, spacecraft
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2018-38-24
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 10:38 AM
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