NASA set to launch Sun probe on Saturday


At that moment, the space agency's Parker Solar Probe, Nasa's historic mission to touch the Sun, will have its first opportunity to lift off. "And that allows us to shrink our orbit and go closer to the sun than anything has been before". Then a long adventure lies ahead for the Parker probe. The probe will use Venus' gravity to slow itself down as it makes its close approaches with the sun.

The closest one of these flights to the sun will be 0.04 astronomical units, or nearly 4 million miles from the surface of the Sun.

When the probe begins its final orbits it will be moving at approximately 430,000 miles per hour, according to NASA.

This is a rough analogy for the Sun's corona, the rarefied halo of plasma that extends millions of miles beyond the Sun's surface. The probe will take NASA scientists closer to the sun than any other spacecraft has ever gone before.

Image: The spacecraft will use seven Venus flybys to get nearer the sun.

The craft comes equipped with a thick shield made of carbon composite foam and carbon fiber.

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During its flights near our star, the role of the heat shield is to protect the fragile electronics on board the probe.

As heavy as an adult human, the shield consists of several layers. "When you look at what gets to Earth or to these spacecraft, it's ambiguous".

It is therefore behind this protection that the instruments are hidden.

The probe's instruments also will map the sun's powerful magnetic field, as well as the torrent of electrically charged particles that are constantly blasted away into space in explosive outbursts, and the mechanism that accelerates those particles to extreme velocities. Despite the conditions, the objective remains to make observations. And so, these are sort of the three fundamental questions we want to address: "the speed of the solar wind, this eruptive phenomena, solar storms, and how is the corona heated?" As reported by the Inquisitr, Dr. Parker was the first one to postulate the existence of solar wind in 1958.

The Parker Solar Probe will go closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it. The problem is that the solar winds seem to challenge the basic laws of physics.

But the Parker Solar Probe was built to do just that.

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It's important to understand the corona because it's the breeding ground of vast and potentially destructive blasts known as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. The data is expected to help space weather prediction which can cause problems here on Earth and with satellites.

The PSP's primary goal is to trace the energy flow through the solar corona, with an eye toward solar wind acceleration. This is about 1380 degrees Celsius. This will be a rough travel considering the heat and the radiation emitted from the sun surface. Although the corona reaches millions of degrees, it's a wispy, tenuous, environment and so the spacecraft won't need to endure such severe temperatures.

To explain this unusual phenomenon, several theories have been put forward.

According to the United States space agency, Eugene Parker, called this cascade of energy and particles, solar wind, a constant release of material from the Sun. To snuggle up to the sun, it will fly past Venus seven times over seven years.

NASA detailed that the Sun has 99.8 percent of the mass of the Solar System, and that it is hard to reach it, because to do so it is necessary to use 55 times more energy used to go to Mars. But Earth's star has secrets that scientists have been trying to figure out for decades!

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