- Parker Solar Probe, the first-ever spacecraft to fly directly toward the Sun is poised to blast off
- It is on a mission to plunge into our star’s sizzling atmosphere and unlock the mysteries of the centre of the solar system
Aim of the mission
- The goal for the Parker Solar Probe is to make 24 passes through the corona during its seven-year mission
- By coming closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history, the unmanned probe’s main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around the Sun
- This will help scientists in predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth
- Knowing more about the solar wind and space storms will also help protect future deep space explorers as they journey toward the Moon or Mars
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to “touch” the Sun. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere about 4 million miles from the surface.
- NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun. PSP will swoop closer to the Sun’s surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions.
- The spacecraft will come as close as 3.83 million miles (and 6.16 million kilometers) to the Sun, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.
- To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun’s heat by a 4.5-inch-thick (11.43 cm) carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,377 degrees Celsius).
- Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society.
- The Living With a Star flight program is managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Parker Solar Probe is the fourth mission for NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) this year. LSP is responsible for launch service acquisition, integration, analysis and launch management for each mission.
Source:TH & NASA