NASA's $ 1.5bn Parker solar probe launches a historic mission to the Sun

<pre><pre>The countdown begins: Parker Solar Probe takes off on a historic mission to touch the sun tomorrow

NASA has sent a spacecraft on a mission to fly where no probe has arrived before, in the blazing outer atmosphere of the sun.

The $ 1.5billion (£ 1.17billion) Parker Probe was launched on one of the most powerful rockets in the world.

Eventually it will reach record speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour while completing 24 orbits of the sun over the course of seven years.

During this time, the ship will oscillate around Venus seven times, using the gravity of the planet to bring it closer and closer to our star with each pass; eventually, the Parker probe will reach 3.8 million miles from the surface of the sun.

It will be subject to temperatures of approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit (1371C) when it gets closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history, but, behind its thick heat shield, it will only feel like a hot summer day, with this region protected maximum at around 85F (29C).

The launch window at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida opens at 8.53 a.m. BST this morning (3.53 a.m. local time).

It will remain open for 65 minutes.

The probe will depend on a series of Venus gravity aids to slow its lateral movement, allowing it to be only 3.8 million miles from the surface of the sun. This will place the Parker probe inside the solar corona, which extends more than 5 million miles above the surface. No spaceship has ventured so close to the sun

The Parker Solar Probe will be launched from Cape Canaveral this morning on a ULA Delta IV Heavy, which is already one of the most powerful rockets in the world, with a third stage connected.

The launch window closes on August 23. This mission will require 55 times more energy than would be needed to reach Mars, according to NASA.

The probe will depend on a series of Venus gravity aids to slow its lateral movement, allowing it to be only 3.8 million miles from the surface of the sun.

As NASA engineer Bobak Ferdowsi pointed out on Twitter, that's the equivalent distance of just 4.43 soles placed side by side.

This will place the Parker probe inside the solar corona, which extends more than 5 million miles above the surface.

"We will go where no spacecraft has dared before, within the crown of a star," said project scientist Nicky Fox of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

"With each orbit, we will see new regions of the sun's atmosphere and learn things about the stellar mechanics that we have wanted to explore for decades."

The $ 1.5 billion Parker Probe will explode on top of one of the most powerful rockets in the world, reaching record speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour while completing 24 orbits of the sun over the course of seven years.

The $ 1.5 billion Parker Probe will explode on top of one of the most powerful rockets in the world, reaching record speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour while completing 24 orbits of the sun over the course of seven years.

The Parker probe will be subjected to temperatures of approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit when it gets closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history, but, behind its thick heat shield, it will only feel like a hot summer day, with this region protected from maximum at about 85 degrees.

The Parker probe will be subjected to temperatures of approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit when it gets closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history, but, behind its thick heat shield, it will only feel like a hot summer day, with this region protected from maximum at about 85 degrees.

The Parker probe of $ 1.5 billion (£ 1.17 billion) (shown on the left next to the rocket engine of the third stage) will take off on one of the most powerful rockets in the world, reaching record speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour. complete 24 orbits of the sun over the course of seven years

HOW WILL THE SOLAR PARKER SONAR BE SO CLOSE TO THE SUN?

The mission of Parker Solar Probe will require 55 times more energy than would be needed to reach Mars, according to NASA.

It will be launched on a Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy, one of the most powerful rockets in the world, with a third stage connected.

But its trajectory and speed are fundamental to reach the correct orbit.

Since the Earth, and everything in it, is traveling at approximately 67,000 miles per hour in a direction lateral to the sun, the ship must be thrown back to cancel lateral movement, explains NASA.

The Parker probe goes beyond the sun, so it will have to eliminate about 53,000 miles per hour, according to the space agency.

Parker Solar Probe will swing around Venus a total of seven times, with each step slowing it down a bit and bringing it closer and closer to the sun. These orbits are shown in the animation above

This will require a boost from the powerful Delta IV rocket, and several Venus gravity aids to stop it.

The probe will depend on a series of Venus gravity aids to slow its lateral movement, allowing it to be only 3.8 million miles from the surface of the sun.

"In this case, instead of accelerating the spacecraft, as in a typical gravitational assistance, Venus reduces the speed of its lateral movement so that the ship can approach the sun," explains NASA.

"When it finally approaches, Parker Solar Probe will have lost much of its lateral speed, but it has gained great speed thanks to the sun's gravity.

& # 39; Parker Solar Probe will rush past the sun at 430,000 miles per hour & # 39;

At its closest point, it will be 3.8 million miles from the surface of the sun, becoming the only spacecraft to venture so close.

The corona, or the outer atmosphere of the sun, is home to ultra-hot solar material and some of the most extreme events emanating from our star.

Here, the material is heated to millions of degrees, says NASA.

Parker Solar Probe's unprecedented access to the corona will allow you to study the acceleration of the solar wind up close, and observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have ripple effects on space weather and communication systems near the Earth.

The boat is named after Dr. Eugene Parker, who first predicted the existence of the solar wind in 1958, and is the only living person who ever had a NASA mission named for them.

The probe is also towing the names of more than 1.1 million people who signed up to send their names to the sun.

Parker Solar Probe will be launched from Cape Canaveral on Saturday morning on a ULA Delta IV Heavy, which is already one of the most powerful rockets in the world, with a third stage connected. Above, you can see the massive fairing of the rocket payload with the emblems of the mission

Parker Solar Probe will be launched from Cape Canaveral on Saturday morning on a ULA Delta IV Heavy, which is already one of the most powerful rockets in the world, with a third stage connected. Above, you can see the massive fairing of the rocket payload with the emblems of the mission

Parker Solar Probe will be launched from Cape Canaveral on Saturday morning on a ULA Delta IV Heavy, which is already one of the most powerful rockets in the world, with a third stage connected. Above, you can see the massive fairing of the rocket payload with the emblems of the mission

Approximately 1,400 pounds of solar projection and scientific equipment are protected by an advanced heat shield, which uses a composite carbon foam material 4.5 inches thick between two front carbon fiber blades. The probe can be seen above, as it was lifted in the third stage rocket motor

Approximately 1,400 pounds of solar projection and scientific equipment are protected by an advanced heat shield, which uses a composite carbon foam material 4.5 inches thick between two front carbon fiber blades. The probe can be seen above, as it was lifted in the third stage rocket motor

Approximately 1,400 pounds of solar projection and scientific equipment are protected by an advanced heat shield, which uses a composite carbon foam material 4.5 inches thick between two front carbon fiber blades. The probe can be seen above, as it was lifted in the third stage rocket motor

This and approximately 1,400 pounds of solar projection and scientific equipment are protected by an advanced heat shield, which uses a 4.5-inch-thick composite carbon foam material between two front carbon fiber blades.

"NASA planned to send a mission to the solar corona for decades, however, we did not have the technology that could protect a spacecraft and its instruments from the heat," says Adam Szabo, a scientist at the Parker Solar Probe mission at Goddard. POT. Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.

"Recent advances in materials science gave us the material to form a heat shield in front of the spacecraft, not only to resist the extreme heat of the sun, but to stay cool in the back."

Parker Solar Probe's unprecedented access to the corona will allow you to study the acceleration of the solar wind up close and observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have ripple effects on space weather and communication systems near the Earth

Parker Solar Probe's unprecedented access to the corona will allow you to study the acceleration of the solar wind up close and observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have ripple effects on space weather and communication systems near the Earth

Parker Solar Probe's unprecedented access to the corona will allow you to study the acceleration of the solar wind up close and observe solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have ripple effects on space weather and communication systems near the Earth

WHAT IS NASA'S SOLAR PARKER PROBE AND WHEN WILL IT BE LAUNCHED?

The Parker solar probe (PSP) is programmed to travel seven times closer to the sun than any spacecraft before

The Parker solar probe (PSP) is programmed to travel seven times closer to the sun than any spacecraft before

The Parker solar probe (PSP) is programmed to travel seven times closer to the sun than any spacecraft before

NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is programmed to travel seven times closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft.

Scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in August 2018, the probe will fly into the outer atmosphere of the sun to study the life of the stars and their climatic events.

It is hoped that the PSP can help scientists better understand solar flares: brief eruptions of intense high-energy radiation from the sun's surface that can damage communications on Earth.

The spacecraft will plummet within 4 million miles (6.5 million km) of the sun's surface, bringing it seven times closer to the solar surface than any previous spacecraft.

The vessel will face extremes of heat and radiation and will reach speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour (700,000 kph) in its flyby closest to the star.

The ship's kit includes a white light camera called Whisper, which will take pictures of the solar waves as the craft moves at high speed.

To measure the "bulk plasma" of the solar winds, described by NASA as the "bread and butter" of the flares, a set of magnetic imaging equipment will also be stored on board.

The historical mission will give us the best opportunity to study the star that sustains our entire solar system.

And it's one of the last places in our stellar neighborhood that has not yet been explored.

"For scientists like me, the reward of long and arduous work will be the only set of measures that Parker returns," said Szabo.

"The solar corona is one of the last places in the solar system where no spacecraft has visited before, it gives me the feeling of an explorer's emotion."

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