NASA sends unique space probe – will try to solve the mysteries of the sun
Saturday, 11 August 2018
Today, NASA sends a spacecraft to the sun in a space mission that has never been attempted.
Saturday morning Eastern Time, just after 09.30 Norwegian time, NASA plans to send up the Parker Solar Probe. It will come closer to the sun than any other spacecraft earlier.
According to AP, the probe has a lightweight heat shield that is only 11 centimeters thick. It can withstand temperatures up to 1370 degrees Celsius in addition to extreme radiation. It is 2.4 meters wide and should face the sun when the probe is sealed on the star to shield the instruments on the back and hold them at 27 degrees Celcius.
The spacecraft will follow a path past Venus and will fly past the hottest planet in our solar system seven times in seven years. It is going to use Venus gravity to shrink its own oval orbit and draw closer to the sun.
The first pass of Venus will take place in October, followed by the first meeting with the Sun’s Korona in November. The nearest Parker will be the sun shall be six million miles away – in 2024 and 2025. It is four percent of the distance between the Earth and the sun of 150 million kilometers.
According to AP, Parker hits the first record as soon as it rounds the sun for the first time. NASA Helios is the vessel that has come closest to the sun before. It reached 43 million kilometers away, in 1976. Parker is also expected to set speed record as it shoots through the corona in 692,000 kilometers an hour.
The yellow dwarf star The sun is still a mystery in many ways. The corona is hundred times warmer than the actual surface of the sun, and confuses the researchers. They also do not know what drives the solar winds. Parker can find the solution to any of these riddles.
According to National Geographic, the sun is almost five billion years old. The shootout has been delayed a couple of times, but now it is scheduled for 03.33 ET Saturday morning.