NASA's Parker Solar Probe to the Sun

NASA is sending "Parker Solar Probe" a spacecraft straight into the sun's atmosphere or corona, for exploring the Sun closer than ever before.

The Parker probe is named after a solar physicist Eugene Parker, who in 1958 first predicted the existence of the solar wind and the stream of charged particles, magnetic fields that flow continuously from the Sun.

The probe will help scientist to know miseries like, why the outreaching corona is hundreds of times hotter than the sun's actual surface, and what is driving the solar wind, the supersonic stream of charged particles constantly blasting away from the sun etc.

Parker Solar Probe spacecraft

The parker spacecraft has a 11 centimetres thick lightweight heat shield made of carbon composite foam material between two carbon fibre face sheets, that can withstand 2,500 degrees as well as extreme radiation while keeping the spacecraft cool on the backside.

The science instruments will be safe behind a 8-foot shield that will face the sun during the close solar encounters, the shield will ensure to maintain 27-29 degrees celsius temperature for the instruments, while facing 1,371 degrees celsius heat on its surface.

In its nominal mission lifetime of just seven years the spacecraft will cover 24 orbits between Venus and the sun where the final three orbits will put the spacecraft just 6.16 million kilometres far from the sun in 2024 and 2025.

The spacecraft will use gravity of Venus to draw its orbit increasingly closer to the sun. NASA's former Helios 2 got within 43 million kilometers in 1976, while the Parker will come within 6.16 million kilometres.

Delta IV Heavy rocket

Delta IV Heavy rocket is used to put the Parker spacecraft closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history. Delta IV Heavy rocket is one of the world's most powerful rockets, with a added third stage.

Delta IV Heavy rocket, having 635 kgs weight, is a relatively light spacecraft that will blast off toward the Sun with an immense amount of energy to get to our final orbit around the Sun, which is 55 times more than is required to reach Mars.

Delta IV is the fastest spacecraft in history to reach up to 700,000 kms per hour while zooming through space in a highly elliptical orbit.

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