NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to “touch” the Sun. It will swoop closer to the Sun’s surface than any spacecraft before it. It was launched on 12 August 2018.
The Parker Solar Probe will go within 7 million kms of the Sun at its closest approach in 2024 and beyond.
The Parker Solar Probe was launched on a Delta IV heavy rocket on 12 August 2018.
Getting the spacecraft close to the Sun isn’t easy. The Parker Solar Probe will fly past Planet Venus 7 times between September 2018 and November 2024.
1. Provide new data on solar activity
2. Assist in the forecast of major space-weather events that impact life on Earth and objects in our solar system.
Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first mission to a star – our sun.
The Sun is the only star that can be studied up close. In addition to helping solve how stars throughout the universe drive heat, radiation, energy and particles out into space, data from the spacecraft will help scientists better understand how this constant solar outpouring can create hazardous space weather events near Earth. Space weather can impact not only astronauts living and working in space, but also interfere with satellites and radio signals.
Parker Solar Probe will be a historic mission, flying into the sun’s atmosphere (or corona) for the first time. Coming closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft, Parker Solar Probe will employ a combination of in situ measurements and imaging to achieve the mission’s primary scientific goal: to understand how the sun’s corona is heated and how the solar wind is accelerated. Parker Solar Probe will revolutionize our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind.
Mission duration: 6 yrs, 11 months
Launch Mass: 685 kg (1,510 lb)
Heat Shield Mass: 11.43 cm thick (4.5 inch)
The spacecraft is about the size of a small car. It will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere about 4 million miles from our star’s surface.
Parker Solar Probe is named after Professor Eugene Parker, an American astrophysicist who discovered the solar wind in 1958. It is the first time that NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.
In May 2017, NASA announced the name change from Solar Probe Plus to Parker Solar Probe. It was named astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the solar wind’s existence in 1958.
Parker Solar Probe was launched on 31 July 2018 from Space Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA.
- Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of our Sun by Leon Golub (Author), Jay M. Pasachoff (Author)
from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca
- Nova: Secrets of the Sun (dvd)
Did you know?
Eugene Parker (as of 2018) is currently a professor at the University of Chicago. This is the first time that NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.
Parker Solar Probe Links