Friday, 17 August, 2018

NASA Parker Solar Probe to launch from Cape Canaveral

Nasa prepares daring mission to 'touch the Sun' NASA's Parker Solar Probe will fly closer to the sun than any other man-made object
Frank Williams | 11 August, 2018, 20:33

Mr. Parker is now 91 years old and at Cape Canaveral, Fla. with his family to witness his first launch - a Delta IV Heavy rocket with the spacecraft bearing his name.

"And last but not least, we have a white light imager that is taking images of the atmosphere right in front of the Sun".

Poking out over the heat shield, an instrument known as the Faraday cup will take measurements of the solar winds, a flow of ionised gases from the sun that streams past Earth at a million miles per hour.

Its mission is to help scientists unlock the mysteries of the sun's atmosphere and answer questions like why its corona, the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere, is hotter than its surface.

An artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe nearing the Sun.

"We are going to be in an area that is so exciting, where solar wind - we believe - will be accelerating", said NASA planetary science division director Jim Green.

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Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by two F-15s. Ms Morse said her mother, who lives near the crash site, had said eight minutes later that her whole house shook.

The spacecraft will hit 6,90,000 kmph in the corona at closest approach. These disturbances can also create complications as we attempt to send astronauts and spacecraft farther away from the Earth.

The project was proposed in the year 1958 to a brand-new Nasa, and "60 years later, and it's becoming a reality", said project manager Andy Driesman, also of Johns Hopkins, which designed and built the spacecraft.

This is the first-ever spacecraft to be named after someone still alive.

It's a fast-paced mission, with the first Venus encounter occurring less than two months after liftoff, in early October, and the first brush with the sun in November. It will hitch a ride into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, and an upper stage boost from the rocket will send it hurtling out of Earth's orbit and on a path to Venus, eventually moving at speeds up to 700,000 kmh (430,000 mph) - faster than any probe that came before it. But these findings are going to take a long time - first, the Parker probe will have to orbit around the sun, getting closer and closer, for as many as seven years.

A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY. Ultimately, the more we can learn about the Sun, the better. "These gravity assists will draw Parker Solar Probe's orbit closer to the sun for a record approach of just 3.83 million miles from the sun's visible surface on the final orbits".

NASA is sending a spacecraft straight into the sun's glittering crown, an atmospheric region so hot and harsh any normal visitor would wither.

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