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NASA's Parker Solar Probe will blast off in 2018 to explore the sun

By Shawn Knight · 8 replies
May 31, 2017
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  1. NASA on Wednesday shared details on an upcoming mission that’ll send a probe closer to the surface of the sun than any spacecraft before it.

    The Parker Solar Probe, slated to launch no earlier than July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is roughly the size of a small car. It’ll use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over the course of about seven years to bring its orbit close enough to the sun to conduct the desired experiments.

    Facing intense heat and radiation, the probe will actually fly through the sun’s outer atmosphere (the cornea) where it’ll come within 3.7 million miles of the sun’s surface (for reference, Earth is on average about 93 million miles from our star).

    At its closest point, the Parker Solar Probe will experience temperatures approaching 2,500 F (1,377 C) as it zips by at 430,000 mph. Thanks to its 4.5-inch thick carbon-composite heat shielding, however, the spacecraft’s internal payload should never get above room temperature.

    NASA says the primary goals of the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the sun’s solar cornea and explore what accelerates both solar wind and solar energetic particles. Scientists have sought answers to these questions for more than 60 years but only recently has thermal engineering advanced to the point where it’s safe to send a probe.

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,463   +3,020

    This isn't how it went in the Sunshine movie :)
     
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    NASA doesn't have to deal with those extreme circumstances and temperatures if they have the intelligence to carry out this little expedition of theirs at night. :D
     
    CrazyDave likes this.
  4. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Booster Posts: 56   +66

    "the probe will actually fly through the sun’s outer atmosphere (the cornea)"

    Could it be the Corona? ;)
     
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,374   +3,770

    So have they actually named it? I'm entering my suggestion now for "Icarus" , you know, just it case it falls in and burns up!
     
    MonsterZero and ForgottenLegion like this.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,355   +4,985

    I'm betting it will burn up before it gets half way to the sun.
     
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  7. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 139   +67

    They should go at night time, otherwise it could be, like, you know, rilly rilly hot!
     
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,355   +4,985

    I'm questioning whether this is a joke or a blonde moment. I'm banking on it being a joke, but it rilly rilly is hard to tell.
     
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    So they have new tech to get this probe to the sun closer than ever before. So when can we all have this new tech as well so we can wear higher temp gloves and won't burn up our hands working on extreme hot engines or getting the turkey out of the oven!
     

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