What is NASA’s Parker Solar Probe?

NASA: Parker Solar Probe launches on mission to 'touch the sun' | Daily Star

NASA's much-anticipated Parker Solar Probe - a spacecraft which it is said will "touch" the sun - has been launched from Cape Canaveral. Its closest approach will put it at just 3.8 million miles from the Sun, at which point it should be the fastest-ever human-made object with a speed of 430,000MPH.

A Saturday morning launch attempt was foiled by last-minute technical trouble.

It will be flying at speeds of 430,000 miles per hour and endure temperatures of 1,300 degrees Celsius, moving as close as within 6.16 million km of the sun's boiling surface.

The Parker Solar Probe is a satellite about the size of the auto, and it is even set to become the fastest moving manmade object history as it fires towards the sun, breaking the record previously set by Pedro Obiang's absolute banger against Spurs last season.

Altogether, it will make 24 close approaches over the next seven years.

Looking on at the launch was astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who first theorised the existence of the solar wind in 1958.

In particular, it is hoped to give scientists a greater understanding of solar wind storms that have the potential to knock out the power on Earth. The devices are protected from 2,550-degree heat by a 4.5-inch (11.4-centimeter) carbon-composite shield that will keep the equipment at a cozy 85 degrees during the journey.

When it nears the Sun, the probe will travel rapidly enough to go from NY to Tokyo in one minute - some 430,000 miles per hour, making it the fastest human-made object.

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Weighing just 635 kgs, it is a relatively light spacecraft, Andy Driesman, project manager for the mission at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the USA, said in an earlier statement. It also holds a memory card containing more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public to travel with the spacecraft to the Sun. "Even I still go, really?"

Parker said last week that he was "impressed" by the Parker Solar Probe, calling it "a very complex machine".

NASA will, on Sunday have another go at launching their historic unmanned Parker Solar Probe. "Parker Solar Probe would be just 4cm away from the Sun", explained Dr Nicky Fox, the British-born project scientist who is affiliated to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Greeting the launch - on the back of a mammoth Delta-IV Heavy rocket - NASA tweeted: "3-2-1... and we have liftoff of Parker #SolarProbe atop @ULAlaunch's #DeltaIV Heavy rocket".

"We always say that luck has absolutely nothing to do with this business, but I will take all that I can get", ULA Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno said in an interview Friday.

The probe will zip past Venus in six weeks and make a first rendezvous with the Sun a further six weeks after that.

Its maximum velocity around the sun will reach 430,000 miles per hour, making it the fastest human-made object to orbit a celestial body.

Scientists have wanted to build a spacecraft like this for more than 60 years, but only in recent years did the heat shield technology advance enough to be capable of protecting sensitive instruments.

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