Ouch! How NASA finally set out to 'touch' the Sun

На краю Солнечной системы обнаружили нечто невероятное

One rotation of the Earth later, the NASA probe - designed, built and operated by the Hopkins lab - successfully lifted off at 3:31 a.m. Sunday and began its hurtle toward the sun. Over a period of seven years, it will make 24 approaches to the star, coming to within 6.12 million kilometres of the Sun's surface. Samples of the Sun's atmosphere scooped up by the spacecraft's Solar Probe Cup, and other data the probe is expected to collect, should considerably enhance our understanding of things like solar winds - whose existence Eugene Parker had proposed 60 years ago. This was the 37 launch of the Delta IV rocket, and the 10 in the Heavy configuration. As NASA notes, this marks its first mission named for a living person.

United States space agency NASA has launched a probe to the Sun.

The size of a small auto, weighing under a ton and travelling at speeds 15 times that of a speeding bullet, the probe will be protected by a revolutionary new carbon heat shield as it travels seven times closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft facing temperatures of over 1,300 degrees Celsius.

There is a strong heat shield around the probe that protects it and keeps the instrument's temperatures around 85 degrees.

In 2017, the mission was renamed for Eugene Parker, the S Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

Among the curiosities is the apparent mismatch between the temperature of the Sun's visible surface, which measures about 5,500 degrees Celsius and the hundreds of times higher temperature of the corona, which reaches temperatures of about 5,500,000 degrees Celsius.

На краю Солнечной системы обнаружили нечто невероятное
Here comes the Sun - at 700000km an hour

Thanks to PSP's "on-site" observations, scientists will understand more about the heating mechanism of the corona, why solar winds tend to accelerate inside it, and how accelerating charged particles generate devastating electromagnetic storms. "It took a while for the Delta IV Heavy to clear the pad", Fox said, "but I was prepared for that, so I didn't panic". It is anticipated that the surface of the shield will be heated to around 1,400°C, with the instrumentation in the spacecraft body kept at a balmy 30°C.

Can the Parker Probe find out?

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, NASA said.

By the time the probe gets to its 22nd, 23rd and 24th orbits of the sun in 2024 and 2025, it will be even deeper into the corona and traveling at a record-breaking 430,000 miles per hour.

Parker will start shattering records this fall.On its very first brush with the sun, it will come within 15.5 million miles (25 million kilometers), easily beating the current record set by NASA's Helios 2 spacecraft in 1976.

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