United Launch Alliance to Launch NASA's Parker Solar Probe

11 Agosto, 2018, 04:27 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • Parker Solar Probe will use Venus gravity to gradually bring its orbit closer to the Sun

NASA is ready to create a $ 1.5 billion spacecraft on a brutal trip to the Sun, offering scientists the closest view of our unusual and mysterious star.

Understanding how the corona works will help scientists anticipate risky space weather storms, which can disrupt the power grid on Earth.

The unmanned spacecraft detector is called the Parker Solar Probe.

Mission managers say that may sound like a lot but is really quite a close shave, given the sweltering conditions out there.

Fox puts it this way: If the sun and Earth were on opposite ends of a football field, Mercury would be at the sun's 35-yard line, Helios 2 at the 29-yard line and the Parker probe at the 4-yard line.

In fact, the spacecraft will be able to develop speeds of up to 430,000 miles an hour and will become the "fastest human object ever built", said project researcher Nicky Fox of John Hopkins University. In the next few years, the probe will orbit around 61 lakh kilometers from the Sun.

The Parker Solar Probe is equipped with a thick heat shield to protect itself from the sizzling temperatures.

Unlike a campfire, which feels hottest at the source, the heat from the Sun gets more intense further away from its surface.

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The spacecraft is expected to make its closest approach to the sun in the year 2024, as it flies 3.9 million miles above the solar surface.

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 almost 2,500 F (1,377 C).

"It's a quick dance into that special region of the sun that we need to sample, explore, measure and get to know because that's where all the good stuff happens", said Garvin, describing the mission as one of the most elaborate trajectories ever.

"The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world and even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are handsome - but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere".

There is also a white light imager, taking pictures of what the spacecraft is about to "plow through", said Fox.

The NASA launch window is scheduled for exactly 3.33am EDT (8.33am BST), on Saturday, August 11.

The car-sized probe is already packed on to the Delta IV-Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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