Researcher discusses the launch of the Parker Solar Probe

Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on August 12 at 3:31 a.m. EDT.

Nestled atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy - one of the world's most powerful rockets - with a third stage added, Parker Solar Probe will blasted off toward the sun with a whopping 55 times more energy than was required to reach Mars.

Although that distance may sound too far to justify Nasa's claim that it will "touch" the star's surface, the probe is expected to break through the Sun's atmosphere - known as the Corona - a total of 24 times over seven years while gathering data about its climate.

Of her work, she said: "The most satisfying thing about being a scientist is that you are always trying to discover something new, and every now and then, you actually succeed in this". In order to withstand what will no doubt be unfathomable temperatures, Parker has been supplied with a revolutionary heat shield which should stop the craft from burning up.

Delta IV Heavy launched the spacecraft at a top speed of over 121 miles per second. It's the first NASA mission to be named for a living researcher.

Names of two Indian women from Haldwani area of Uttarakhand have also been included in more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public and included in the Parker Solar Probe recently launched by the USA's space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It's created to take solar punishment like never before, thanks to its revolutionary heat shield that's capable of withstanding 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius).

The 8-foot (2.4-meter) heat shield will serve as an umbrella that will shade the spacecraft's scientific instruments, with on-board sensors adjusting the protective cover as necessary so that nothing gets fried.


Nicky Fox, an engineer on the project said that "We'll be going where no spacecraft has dared go before - within the corona of a star". Such a close approach will, breathtakingly, allow the Parker probe to dip directly into the Sun's corona or outer atmosphere.

The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system and can cause havoc with communications technology on Earth.

"Wow, here we go".

The Parker Solar Probe will be able to gather pictures, information on magnetic fields and solar wind particles. NASA hired the Hopkins lab in 2008 to design the probe and its heat shield.

The mission is named for Eugene Parker, the physicist who first theorized the existence of the solar wind in 1958.

By the time the probe gets to its 22nd, 23rd and 24th orbits of the sun in 2024 and 2025, it will be even deeper into the corona and traveling at a record-breaking 430,000 miles per hour.

But this is why NASA wants to study the sun in the first place.


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