Parker Solar Probe launches on mission to 'touch the sun'

NASA: Parker Solar Probe launches on mission to 'touch the sun' | Daily Star

A Delta-IV heavy rocket carrying the probe took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at around 07.31 GMT on Sunday morning.

"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.

The journey, called the Parker Solar Probe, will loop around the sun 24 times, flying within the star's hot million-degree atmosphere.

NASA has successfully launched a spacecraft destined to become the fastest man-made object ever as it gets closer to the sun than we've been before.

He proposed the existence of the solar wind 60 years ago.

The mission will last 6 years and 11 months, and in that time the Parker probe will orbit the sun 24 times.

The entire project cost R20.5-billion and will continue until 2025.

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Eugene Parker predicted the existence of solar wind 60 years ago. "We will fly by Venus seven times throughout the mission". As soon as the red pressure alarm for the gaseous helium system went off, a launch controller ordered, "Hold, hold, hold".

Perhaps most important for us humans, the science undertaken with the help of the Parker Solar Probe will likely improve our ability to forecast space weather - including solar flares that can disrupt signals from satellites and, in extreme cases, can even blow out transformers on our terrestrial power grids.

Parker Solar Probe will explore the corona, a region of the Sun only seen from Earth when the Moon blocks out the Sun's bright face during total solar eclipses.

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 risky solar storms.

These solar outbursts are poorly understood, but pack the potential to wipe out power to millions of people.

"Parker Solar Probe would be just 4cm away from the Sun", explained Dr Nicky Fox, the British-born project scientist who is affiliated to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. We know the questions we want to answer'.

The tools on board will measure the expanding corona and continually flowing atmosphere known as the solar wind, which solar physicist Eugene Parker first described in 1958.

"And last but not least, we have a white light imager that is taking images of the atmosphere right in front of the Sun".

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