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Thu Aug 9, 2018, 04:45 PM

NASA's Parker solar probe to launch on a mission to touch the sun

Source: Axios

NASA is set to launch the first space mission to enter the sun's corona, with the launch slated for Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The big picture: The Parker Solar Probe stands out for just how close to the sun it plans to reach: less that 3.82 million miles away. By comparison, we live a comfortable 93 million miles away from our solar system's star. Assuming a successful launch, the probe will also become the fastest-moving man-made object ever, traveling at 340,000 miles per hour.

Why it matters: At a press conference on Thursday, project scientist Nicola Fox said that engineers and scientists have been waiting 60 years to be able to develop the right technology to build this type of probe. "We know a lot about the sun," she said, but there are key mysteries that will be unsolvable until a spacecraft can reach closer to its surface.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/parker-solar-probe-mission-to-touch-the-sun-cd27019d-c161-4863-b6e8-a2e3d0464816.html

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply NASA's Parker solar probe to launch on a mission to touch the sun (Original post)
brooklynite Aug 9 OP
First Speaker Aug 9 #1
Baclava Friday #11
FSogol Aug 9 #2
reACTIONary Friday #8
George II Aug 9 #3
reACTIONary Friday #9
DemoTex Aug 9 #4
Princess Turandot Aug 9 #5
MicaelS Aug 9 #6
Aristus Aug 9 #7
reACTIONary Friday #10
Baclava Sunday #12

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 04:51 PM

1. Reminds me of Bradbury's *The Golden Apples of the Sun*...

...an utterly charming story, that makes not an iota of sense but like so much of Bradbury, is unforgettable...

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Response to First Speaker (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 10, 2018, 07:13 AM

11. Reminds me of "Sunshine".... cool movie



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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 04:51 PM

2. Is it too late to put Trump and Pence on-board?

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Response to FSogol (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 10, 2018, 12:09 AM

8. Are you kidding . ...

..... we want thjs mission to be a success ! !

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 04:56 PM

3. The sun is mighty hot. I hope they go at night.

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Response to George II (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 10, 2018, 12:09 AM

9. +10 nm

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 05:23 PM

4. Icarus. Son of Daedalus.

Know what I mean, Vern?

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 05:27 PM

5. It's scheduled to launch at 3:33AM on Saturday morning...

More from its NASA mission page:

Zooming through space in a highly elliptical orbit, Parker Solar Probe will reach speeds up to 430,000 miles per hour — fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in a second — setting the record for the fastest spacecraft in history. During its nominal mission lifetime of just under 7 years, Parker Solar Probe will complete 24 orbits of the Sun — reaching within 3.8 million miles of the Sun’s surface at closest approach.

In an orbit this close to the Sun, the real challenge is to keep the spacecraft from burning up.

“NASA was planning to send a mission to the solar corona for decades, however, we did not have the technology that could protect a spacecraft and its instruments from the heat,” said Szabo. “Recent advances in materials science gave us the material to fashion a heat shield in front of the spacecraft not only to withstand the extreme heat of the Sun, but to remain cool on the backside.”

The heat shield is made of a 4.5-inch thick carbon composite foam material between two carbon fiber face sheets. While the Sun-facing side simmers at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, behind the shield the spacecraft will be a cozy 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

More


As an added attraction, it will use Venus for gravity assists 8 times during the mission. So we may see more images of our under-photographed, percolating neighbor. They have an animated GIF showing the spacecraft's trajectory and dance with Venus which can be played on from the page linked above, of which this is one frame:

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 07:14 PM

6. Article is in error.

It states the probe is 233 feet tall, and even gives a picture that shows the probe, and it is NOT that tall.

The launch vehicle is a Delta 4 Heavy, which is 236 feet tall, and the only HLV we have capable of launching the probe.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2018, 07:29 PM

7. When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a science fiction short story about this very subject.

I was pretty proud of it at the time. My technological innovation was called MASS - Multiple Atomic Solar Shields. It would have been a better invention, and better 'hard' science fiction, if I had described how they worked. But I didn't; the name was enough.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2018, 12:12 AM

10. K&R - Very interesting and informative (nm)

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