Why NASA's Parker Solar Probe won't melt

Why NASA's Parker Solar Probe won't melt

Why NASA's Parker Solar Probe won't melt

It will also be the fastest human made object traveling at 430,000 miles (6,92,000 kms) per hour, according to Korreck, who is part of the mission.

These explosions create space weather events that can pummel Earth with high energy particles, endangering astronauts, interfering with Global Positioning System and communications satellites and, at their worst, disrupting our power grid.

A last-minute technical problem delayed the rocket's planned Saturday launch, with the countdown halted with just one minute, 55 seconds remaining.

The Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Sunday. "To protect itself, the spacecraft has a thermal protection system, or heat shield, that will provide a shadow in which the spacecraft will "hide" to perform its scientific data gathering".

Dr Nicky Fox, the British-born project scientist who is affiliated to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory said: "I realise that might not sound that close, but imagine the sun and the Earth were a metre apart".

"Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first mission to the sun".

NASA hope the breakthrough journey will reveal why the sun's outer layer - the corona - is hotter than the surface.

Embarking on a mission that scientists have been dreaming of since the Sputnik era, a Nasa spacecraft hurtled Sunday toward the sun on a quest to unlock some of its mysteries by getting closer than any object sent before.


"Why in this region does the solar atmosphere suddenly get so energized that it escapes from the (gravitational) hold of the sun and bathes all of the planets?"

The mission's findings will help researchers improve their forecasts of space weather events, which have the potential to damage satellites and harm astronauts on orbit, disrupt radio communications and, at their most severe, overwhelm power grids. To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the sun's heat by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. His mission for 8 years, during which the probe will approach the Sun at a record distance of six million kilometers.

During the journey, the spacecraft will fly by Venus at speeds of 4,30,000 miles per hour, the equivalent of flying from NY to Tokyo in one minute. It remains unknown how these electrically charged particles pick up speed.

READ: Traveling to the Sun: Why won't Parker solar probe melt?

The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.

The car-sized probe was launched aboard a Delta IV-Heavy rocket at 3.31 a.m. So far, the Helios 2 spacecraft has made the closest approach, which flew within 27 million miles in 1976.

NASA said the probe entered orbit around the Sun about 40 minutes after liftoff. That will be seven times closer than previous spacecraft.

Parker watched the launch at Cape Canaveral, and said it was his first time seeing a rocket blast off in person. "Parker Solar Probe will enable groundbreaking research, making space a safer to be".

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