NASA second attempt at solar probe launch

12 August, 2018, 13:37 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • An illustration of the sun-bound Parker Solar Probe

This handout photo released by NASA shows the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back on August 11, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida - NASA postponed until August 12, 2018, the launch of the first ever spacecraft to fly directly toward the Sun on a mission to plunge into our star's sizzling atmosphere and unlock its mysteries.

"The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world", Nicola Fox, mission project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement of the mission."And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are lovely ― but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere".

The craft will be protected from the heat of the sun by a revolutionary new heat shield.

The car-sized spacecraft will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere, about four million miles from its surface - and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before, thanks to its innovative Thermal Protection System.

As the Parker Solar Probe probe orbits the sun, it will experience extreme radiation and temperatures as high as 1,377C - close to the melting point of steel.

"During summer, Earth and the other planets in our solar system are in the most favourable alignment to allow us to get close to the Sun".

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NASA on Sunday blasted off a $1.5 billion spacecraft toward the Sun on a historic mission to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of unsafe solar storms. A key question that the probe seeks to answer is how solar wind is accelerated, and for the first time it will be able to look for answers at the source of solar wind itself.

The probe is the first NASA spacecraft with a living namesake.

The problem on Saturday had to do with the gaseous helium pressure alarm on the spacecraft, officials said early Saturday.

The probe is created to plunge into the Sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, during a seven-year mission.

"We will also be listening for plasma waves that we know flow around when particles move", Fox added. "Each time we fly by, we get closer and closer to the Sun".

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