Nasa launches historic space probe in mission to 'touch' the sun

Nasa launches historic space probe in mission to 'touch' the sun

Nasa launches historic space probe in mission to 'touch' the sun

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on August 12 at 3:31 a.m.

Passing within 3.8 million miles of the sun's visible surface - well within the shimmering halo of the outer atmosphere, or corona - the spacecraft's heat shield will endure 2,500-degree heating while whipping past the star at a record 430,000 mph, fast enough to fly from NY to Tokyo in less than a minute.

The launch was called off at the last minute on Saturday after a gaseous helium pressure red alarm emerged that the scientists did not have enough time to troubleshoot.

The spacecraft is equipped with a 4.5-inch-thick, 8-foot-wide carbon composite shield that should keep the electronics at their proper operating temperature even amid temperatures that would melt aluminum.

The Parker Solar Probe is a satellite about the size of the vehicle, and it is even set to become the fastest moving manmade object history as it fires towards the sun, breaking the record previously set by Pedro Obiang's absolute banger against Spurs last season.

According to NASA, the mission to reach the sun's atmosphere will take about seven years. Sixty years ago, it was Parker who first proposed that the sun sent out a stream of solar wind.

The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system and can cause havoc with communications technology on Earth.

"Fly baby girl, fly!" project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University said in a tweet right before liftoff. That's nearly 10 times closer than Mercury gets, and seven times closer than any previous probe.

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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. It is the first NASA mission to be named for a living researcher.

"The spacecraft is power positive and that's where we want to be", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's science mission directorate.

"I really have to turn from biting my nails and getting it launched to thinking about all the interesting things which I don't know yet, and which will be made clear, I assume, over the next five or six or seven years", Parker said. "Parker Solar Probe will enable groundbreaking research, making space a safer to be".

New Horizons is reportedly almost four billion miles from Earth, far beyond Pluto, measuring "a wall of hydrogen" where the waning of our Sun's energy is "creating a boundary where interstellar hydrogen piles up at the edge of the outward pressure caused by the solar wind's energy".

That will make it the fastest ever human-made object, speedy enough to travel from NY to Tokyo in one minute.

"To me, it's still mind-blowing", she said. His 1958 paper was initially ridiculed but has come to be central to our understanding of the solar system and beyond.

But then, the launch of NASA's Mariner 2 spacecraft in 1962 - becoming the first robotic spacecraft to make a successful planetary encounter - proved them wrong.

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