The Parker Solar Probe spacecraft will launch between July 31 – Aug. 19, 2018 in a mission to ‘touch’ the sun.
NASA revealed details of its fearless mission to explore the sun’s atmosphere, more than seven times closer than any other spacecraft have dared to approach the sun.
The spacecraft was unveiled at the site of it’s erection, the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. It will be just about the size of a small car. A launch window of July 31 – Aug. 19, 2018 has been announced.
During seven flybys over the course of nearly seven years, the spacecraft will exploit the gravity of Venus to bring its orbit closer to the sun gradually. It will fly as close as 3.9million miles to the surface of earth’s star through the sun’s atmosphere.
To embark on this rather blazing and dangerous voyage with temperatures reaching nearly 1,377 C, the spacecraft will be armoured with a 11.43 cm thick heat shield.
Purpose of the Mission
The Parker Solar Probe will be be drifting to a region known as the corona, the outermost part of the sun’s environment. It is on a daredevil mission to ease the confussions of scientists about the sun. It is also expected to enable scientists to make predictions about changes in Earth’s outer space.
The goals include studying the movements of Solar winds and energy around the corona and the forces that accelerates them. The Parker Solar Probe is armed with instruments to assess plasma and energetic particles, magnetic fields, and image the Solar wind.
Naming of the Craft
The mission (Solar Probe Plus) Spacecraft was named in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker at the University of Chicago where he currently works.
Parker was known for predicting the existence of Solar winds in 1958 article called “Dynamics of the interplanetary gas and magnetic fields