NASA to Launch Spacecraft Closer to Sun

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

NASA mission to get closer to sun than ever before

"Now, for the first time, we're going to go down and measure in-situ and really know how they work".

The launch window will last for about 45 minutes, and it will start at 3:45 a.m. EDT.

To get to the sun, the probe must be launched with a massive rocket, so that it will be lifted quickly from Earth. In launch power, the Delta IV Heavy rocket is right after the new Falcon Heavy rocket - which is the most powerful rocket at the moment.

"Ever wonder what a spacecraft looks like tucked inside its protective capsule atop a rocket?"

"Over the years, we get closer and closer to the sun, and there's no reason we can't stay in that orbit indefinitely, so we can probably have an extended mission beyond the seven years", said McComas, who is the principal investigator for the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISʘIS, pronounced EEE-sys and using the symbol of the sun in the middle of the acronym), which is one of the four instrument suites aboard Parker Solar Probe.

The mission will take off from Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Once the spacecraft waves goodbye to Earth, it will loop around Venus in a maneuver called a gravity assist that will slow down the spacecraft and carefully control its approach to our star. It should reach its first point of close approach to the sun on November 5.

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.

To survive temperatures of around 2,511 degrees Fahrenheit, the probe is fitted with a 4.5-inch thick, 8-foot diameter carbon shield, which keep the on-board instruments at a warm but safe 85 degrees.

Next week's launch comes after a series of small delays that have pushed the takeoff from July 31 to August 4, 6, and ultimately 11.

The pioneering Parker mission is setting out to find answers to some of the most ardent questions concerning our understanding on the sun. Christian said. "Some high-energy solar particles accelerate to almost half the speed of light, and we don't know why". Also on the agenda is an investigation into what triggers the coronal mass ejections, eruptions of scalding, charged material seeping into interplanetary space.

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