How Nasa will attempt to ‘touch the Sun’

In Just One Week, NASA Will Launch a Spacecraft to 'Touch the Sun'

NASA mission to get closer to sun than ever before

The $1.6-billion mission aims to improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth as well as astronauts in space, NASA said.

In the coming week NASA is launching its Parker Solar Probe; a spacecraft that's specially designed "to touch the sun". By the last orbits of its nominal mission, in 2024 and 2025, the spacecraft will be less than 10 solar radii from the center of the sun, or 9 solar radii above the surface.

To help scientists answer these questions, engineers have outfitted the solar probe with a variety of instruments.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, the spacecraft will be protected from the sun's scorching rays by a state-of-the-art heat shield made out of carbon composite foam encased in carbon plates.

Several probes launched since the sixties have confirmed theories about the Sun's magnetic field and the existence of solar winds, and have allowed observing the behavior of the solar corona, which reaches temperatures higher than the sun's surface. This wicked shield will make sure that the probe will remain at a balmy temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), despite traveling through an inferno of more than a million degrees Fahrenheit.

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"So we have the broader context with the camera, and at the same time we have the instrument suite's localized measurements", Geronimo Villanueva said. "We're going to be very, very close".

Likewise, scientists hope the probe's small-scale, short-term analysis will improve space weather prediction models.

The solar probe is already prepped for the flight, reveals a new NASA photo that shows the spacecraft snugged inside its fairing atop the Delta IV Heavy rocket.

While Nasa scientists have meant to launch a solar mission for decades, cuts made to the space programme by successive presidents have hampered development, while "only recent technological advances in cooling systems and fault management have made it possible" says The Independent.

McComas plans to be at Cape Canaveral for the launch of the Parker Space Probe. I saw Cassini launch [on the slightly smaller Titan IVB], and that was 15 years ago. "Night becomes day. And you see this rocket slowly lift off, and then accelerate out of view".

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