NASA for the first time is all set to launch the Parker Solar Probe on Saturday, August 11th and the spacecraft will be the first-ever man-made object to “touch the Sun”.i The Parker Solar Probe is fabricated specially get closer to the Corona of sun than any other spacecraft and to carry out research about the atmosphere of the Sun.
NASA is poised to send its $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe to the Sun and will be aiming to “touch the Sun”, almost. The unmanned probe is named after Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old pioneering solar astrophysicist and it will actually skim by at a distance of 6.16 million kilometers above the Sun’ s surface. NASA will launch this historic spacecraft for its journey to the solar Corona on Saturday, 11th of this month from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. After a successful launch, the solar probe will travel towards the Sun and fly through the Sun’s scorching atmosphere, known as the corona.
NASA says that the “Parker spacecraft will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.” However, the spacecraft will go through extreme atmospheric conditions as it gets near to the sun and will have to face humongous amount of heat and radiation as compared to any other satellite ever sent. Which is why, the solar probe is loaded with the best protection features, including a 4-5 inch thick layer of carbon composite shield around its surface to ainst heat and radiation. The shield can tolerate upto 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly hot enough to melt any metal like iron or steel. The farthest estimated distance to which the spacecraft will go towards the Corona is 3.8 million miles from the surface of sun, which lies within the orbit of Mercury.
No other spacecraft has yet reached to this distance in the history of space science. Also Parker is about to travel faster than any spacecraft in history, speeding up to 430,000 miles per hour. Laboratory measurements and imaging will be used for the better understanding of the solar Corona, and the solar wind. Along with that, it will also make a noticeable change in forecasting systems for acknowledgement of weather and environmental changes beforehand from the space environment, according to NASA.