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NASA: Solar probe’s mission to ‘touch’ the sun

NASA: Solar probe’s mission to ‘touch’ the sun

The unmanned Parker Solar Probe, which is slated for liftoff next year, will be mankind’s first-ever visit to our nearest star. The probe “will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to its surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions – and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star,” NASA said in a statement.

The probe “will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to its surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions – and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star,” the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement.

At closest approach to the sun, the front of the probe’s solar shield will endure temperatures approaching 2,500°F (1,370°C).

Six onboard instruments will measure the sun’s electric and magnetic fields, as well as the solar winds and other phenomena.

The heat shield was recently attached to the satellite, in preparation for an upcoming brutal regimen of testing at the APL and Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center. That testing will include extremes of vibration, heat, cold and sound, all to ensure the craft can withstand the rough conditions during the 8-minute launch and also the extreme temperatures of space.

The launch window for liftoff will be from July 31, 2018, to Aug 19, 2018. It will blast off inside a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission is expected to include 24 orbits around the sun, over a period of 7 years.

Once in orbit around the sun, it will also break the record for fastest man-made object ever invented, with top speeds estimated at 500,000mph (800,00kph) That’s fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, in one second.

The mission was named after Eugene Newman Parker, a physicist who proposed a number of concepts about how stars give off energy. The probe will be the first Nasa project named for a living scientist. Parker, 90, recently visited the craft that bears his name. Source: Bangkok Post


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