NASA is the U.S. space agency that has never backed down from a challenge. An entire world watched how the first ever manned mission landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Since then, the organization was the author of many other firsts. However, the latest ambition of the agency is to reach the sun this time. NASA is currently planning an innovative mission that can withstand the hottest of temperatures.
The Innovative Mission Bears the Name of a Reputed Astrophysicist
The U.S. space agency has officially announced the inception of a sun innovative mission. The probe is projected to reach the corona of the sun and collect as many data as possible about this extreme environment. This means that the spacecraft will get as close as 3.9 million miles of the surface of the glowing star.
The probe that will make this mission possible was initially dubbed as the Solar Probe Plus. However, it received now a more distinguished name of Parker Solar Probe. This change wanted to dedicate this ambitious project to astrophysicist Eugene Parker. Back in 1987, the scientist delivered a theory according to which the solar corona is formed of myriad minuscule nanoflares. Parker also came up with the solar wind theory.
The solar innovative mission is scheduled to launch the probe in the summer of 2018. This project intends to decipher many secrets that the sun keeps sealed in its hot ball of gas. For instance, it is unclear even today why the corona releases hotter temperatures than the surface of the star. There are more other puzzles that remained unsolved for over more than six decades.
The Probe Will Reach the Closest Pont to the Sun in 2024
The announcement of the innovative mission was delivered during an official event which intended to honor Dr. Parker for his scientific works. He is now a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. The solar astrophysicist was thrilled to make the announcement. He expressed his personal believes that this mission would unravel things no man has dreamed of thinking before.
“I’m sure that there will be some surprises. There always are.”
The Parker Solar Probe is going to reach its closest point to the sun in the year of 2024. The closest point to the sun a probe reached until now was at 27 million miles from the sun. This record was scored by Helios 2 in March 1977. However, the new mission will penetrate the solar corona as close as 3.9 million from the surface of the sun
Image source: NASA