Parker Solar Probe: The unmanned probe’s main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around the Sun.
First-Ever rocket to fly straight toward the Sun is poised to blast off on Saturday. Mission to plunge in star’s sizzling atmosphere and open the mysteries of the core of the solar system.
NASA, $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe is booked to launch on a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral.
By coming nearer to the Sun than any shuttle in history, the unmanned exploration main goal is to reveal the secrets of the corona, the mysterious atmosphere around the Sun. “We are going to be in an area that is so interesting, where solar wind — we believe — will be accelerating,” said NASA planetary science division leader Jim Green.
“Where we see large magnetic fields that are passing by us, as coronal mass removals make their way out from the solar system.”
“The Parker Solar Probe will help us do a better job of divining when a disruption in the solar wind could hit Earth,” Justin Kasper.
Knowing further about the solar wind and space storms will also support to protect future deep space astronauts as they journey to the Moon or Mars.
‘Full of irregularities’
The probe is protected by an ultra-powerful heat shield that is just 4.5 inches (11.43 centimetres) thick.
The shield should enable the spacecraft to survive its close shave with the fiery star, coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometres) of the Sun’s surface.
The heat guard is built to withstand radioactivity equivalent to up to nearly 500 times the Sun’s radioactivity on Earth.
Even in a zone where temperatures can reach more than a million degrees Fahrenheit, the sunlight is supposed to heat the shield to merely about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,371 degrees Celsius).
Scorching, yes? But if all works as intended, the inside of the shuttle should stay at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The goal of the Parker Solar Probe is to make 24 passes through the corona during its seven-year mission.
“The sun is full of irregularities,” said Nicky Fox, project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University.
“We are ready. We have the whole payload. We know the questions we want to respond.”
Parker, now 91, remembered that at first, some people did not understand his theory.
“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,” Mr Parker said earlier this week.
Mr Parker told he is “impressed” with the Parker Solar Probe, naming it “a very complex machine.”
Scientists have needed to build a rocket similar this for more than 60 years, but only in recent years did the radioactivity shield technology advance enough to be able of protecting sensible devices, according to Fox.
Tools on board will measure high-energy particles joined with flares and coronal mass evictions, And changes in the magnetic field around the Sun.
“We will also be listening for plasma waves that we know flow around when particles move,” Fox added.
“And last but not least, we have a white light imager that is capturing images of the atmosphere directly in front of the sun.
This parker solar probe will fast enough to go New York to Tokyo in only 1 minute, its speed about 430,000 miles per hour.