Solar so good...new probe heads for sun

Parker Solar Probe

Parker will then go into position in early November to fly to 15 million miles from the sun right within the solar atmosphere, known as the corona.

The mission may help scientists predict space weather events that can wreak havoc on Earth. While the probe was initially set to launch on Saturday, NASA was prompted to delay it due to technical hurdles.

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

The probe will have to withstand heat and radiation never previously experienced by any spacecraft, but the mission will also address questions that couldn't be answered before.

"We've been inside the orbit of Mercury and done unbelievable things, but until you go and touch the sun, you can't answer these questions", Nicola Fox, mission project scientist, told CNN.

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The Parker Solar Probe is a satellite about the size of the vehicle, and it is even set to become the fastest moving manmade object history as it fires towards the sun, breaking the record previously set by Pedro Obiang's absolute banger against Spurs last season. The spacecraft will fly through the sun's outer atmosphere, the super-hot corona.

At each approach to the Sun, the solar arrays retract behind the heat shield's shadow, leaving only a small segment exposed to the Sun's intense rays. By better understanding the sun's life-giving and sometimes violent nature, Earthlings can better protect satellites and astronauts in orbit, and power grids on the ground, he noted.

The unmanned spacecraft will zip past Venus in six weeks and make a first rendezvous with the Sun, the star closest to the Earth, a further six weeks after that.

"All I can say is wow, here we go". With a communication lag time of 16 minutes, the spacecraft must fend for itself at the sun.

Also, the spacecraft is created to autonomously keep itself safe and on track to the Sun as several sensors are attached to its body along the edge of the shadow from the heat shield.

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NASA launched its Parker Solar Probe on Sunday morning.

Using probe, the scientists want to study the plasma around stars, the structure and dynamics of magnetic fields to measure the levels emitted by the corona energy and the acceleration of the solar wind.

"Eventually, the spacecraft will run out of propellant", said Andy Driesman, Parker Solar Probe project manager at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. That will be seven times closer than previous spacecraft.

This was the 37 launch of the Delta IV rocket, and the 10 in the Heavy configuration. The probe's instrument payload also includes a white-light camera that will take the kinds of pictures of the shimmering corona that are seen on Earth only during a total solar eclipse.

Moreover, the spacecraft holds a microchip carrying the names of more than 1.1 million participants who signed up to send their name to the Sun.

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Back in 1958, when the 31-year-old Parker suggested that the charged particles streamed continuously from the Sun and fill up the space, the scientific community refused to believe him.

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