NASA launches Parker Solar Probe in first mission to 'touch Sun'

The predawn skies lit up like daylight as a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy lifted off at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here, carrying the Parker Solar Probe on humanity's first mission to touch the sun.

As soon as this fall, the Parker Solar Probe will fly straight through the wispy edges of the sun's corona, or outer atmosphere, that was visible during last August's total solar eclipse.

It is set to fly into the Sun's corona within 3.8 million miles (6.1 million km) of the solar surface, seven times closer than any other spacecraft.

A Saturday launch attempt was delayed due to a technical glitch.

The Solar Probe Cup, dubbed "the bravest little instrument", is a sensor that will extend beyond the heat shield to "scoop up samples" of the Sun's atmosphere, according to Professor Justin Kasper of the University of MI.

The unprecedented sun-skimming probe that lifted off today from the United States is set to study the "solar winds" proposed in the paper by Dr Eugene Newman Parker, who has now become the first living scientist to have mission named after him.

Mankind's first mission to "touch" the Sun may have panned out differently had it not been for Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, whose intervention made it possible for a research paper proposing the existence of solar wind to get published 60 years ago.

"It was just a matter of sitting out the deniers for four years until the Venus Mariner 2 spacecraft showed that, by golly, there was a solar wind", Parker said earlier this week.

Scientists aim to learn more about the mechanisms that power the solar wind of charged particles the sun sends into the solar system, creating aurorae on Earth and sometimes screwing with our tech. Zurbuchen expects the data from even this early stage to yield top science papers.

One of the reasons, scientists are sending the probe is the Sun's atmosphere and the weird property it exhibits, of being hotter than the surface of the sun itself.

"Wow, here we go". Nothing from planet Earth has ever gone that fast.

"To me, it's still mind-blowing", she said.

"We've accomplished something that decades ago, lived exclusively in the realm of science fiction", he added, describing the probe as one of NASA's "strategically important" missions. "We've looked at it".

The mission may help scientists predict space weather events that can wreak havoc on Earth.

"We are thrilled with the launch and humbled to have been entrusted with this mission", Tory Bruno, ULA's President and CEO told Space.com following the launch.

At closest approach to the sun, the front of PSP's solar shield faces temperatures approaching 2,500 degrees F. The spacecraft's payload will be near room temperature.

A voice could be heard saying: "A daring mission to shed light on the mysteries of our closest star".

"Just waiting for the data now", he said. His 1958 paper was initially ridiculed but has come to be central to our understanding of the solar system and beyond. As you might guess, NASA is relying on automation to make this work.


Popular
  • California governor asks Trump to aid with fires

    California governor asks Trump to aid with fires

    The report says the death of the 10-year veteran highlights the need for better risk assessment, communication and supervision. But when two plumes broke through, that created an fast-moving updraft, conditions similar to those of tornado formation.
    Weld County man hospitalized with West Nile Virus

    Weld County man hospitalized with West Nile Virus

    But one person was infected previous year and survived.in 2016, two people contracted the disease with one death. West Nile virus, spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, can affect a person's nervous system.
    Ving Rhames Held At Gunpoint By Police After Neighbor Reports Break

    Ving Rhames Held At Gunpoint By Police After Neighbor Reports Break

    The Santa Monica Police Department responded to Rhames' claims in a statement to ET. "This is the God's honest truth". Luckily, one of the officers recognized him because their sons played sports against each other in school.
  • Trump condemns racism, year after Charlottesville

    Trump condemns racism, year after Charlottesville

    With many commenters noting her father defended "both sides" at the time , Ivanka got an earful for saying too little, too late. White supremacists who marched and attacked counter-protesters in Charlottesville a year ago continue to be publicly identified.
    United States  prepares to reinstate Iran sanctions

    United States prepares to reinstate Iran sanctions

    Bolton said that the sanctions show how strongly the administration feels that the Iranian nuclear weapons program needs to end. Trump warned on Monday of "severe consequences" for people or entities that fail to wind down economic activities with Iran.
    Shhh: Harley-Davidson confirms 'twist and go' electric motorcycle for 2019

    Shhh: Harley-Davidson confirms 'twist and go' electric motorcycle for 2019

    United States sales slid 6.4 per cent in the most recent quarter, and they're down 8.7 per cent at the halfway point of the year. This "beginner" H-D will be produced through a planned strategic alliance with a manufacturer in Asia.
  • Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss 'not confident' of deadline day signing

    Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss 'not confident' of deadline day signing

    Martial in the last 20 minutes could have given us the second goal but I couldn't make that change. "Since nine years, every season - except the first when I arrived at Barcelona".
    United States  lawmakers to introduce new bill to sanction Russian Federation

    United States lawmakers to introduce new bill to sanction Russian Federation

    Recall, July 16, in Helsinki behind closed doors had an official meeting Donald trump and Vladimir Putin. In Wednesday's White House statement, Bolton indicated the Mueller probe would be over by January 1.

    Serena says she is victim of 'discrimination' over drug tests

    Williams said at the time she had been tested five times on June, compared to one or none from some of her compatriots. Venus is now ranked World No.14, and is a five-time Wimbledon champion as well as twice victor of the US Open.
  • [Poll] Android 9.0 Pie is official

    [Poll] Android 9.0 Pie is official

    Here is where you'll see your recent apps, and Pixel phone users will be able to select text from running apps while in Overview. Unlike Samsung, which keeps bringing its Note launches forward, Google isn't interested in beating new iPhones to market.
    Trump received letter from North Korea's Kim on 1 August: White House

    Trump received letter from North Korea's Kim on 1 August: White House

    In his early morning tweet, the President of the United States celebrated the return of USA military remains from the Korean War. The agency has DNA samples from 92 percent of the families of the almost 7,700 Americans still missing from the Korean War.
    Sony unveils 48MP camera sensor for smartphones

    Sony unveils 48MP camera sensor for smartphones

    Sony announced Monday that it's designed the highest-resolution image sensor for phone cameras, offering 48 effective megapixels. As a result, scenes with both bright and dark areas can be captured with minimal highlight blowout or loss of detail in shadows.

CONNECT