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09 August 2018, 01:47 | Edward Lowe
An artist's depiction of the Parker Solar Probe at work in orbit around the sun Credit NASA John Hopkins APL
Designed at Johns Hopkins University, the Solar Parker Probe will depart on the 11th from Cape Canaveral (the main center of USA space activities) on a mission that will last seven years and analyze the solar wind.
A rocket carrying a solar probe will blast off on a journey to the sun.
This means PSP will be able to fly through the star's scorching-hot atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.
For a successful reach Solar Probe need to set off very quickly from Earth, thus the giant rocket also the second in launch power only to the brand new Falcon Heavy rocket of Space X. The Probe needs to reach speeds of about 430,000 miles/hour in the space, hence it can be bit heavy, or else it won't be able to enter the necessary orbit.
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"Previous missions have been really important for solar science as we study from afar - and we can learn a lot from studying from afar - but Parker Solar Probe is actually going and touching, nearly kissing the sun, so we can learn so much more", said Elizabeth Congdon, the thermal protection system lead engineer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
The National Administration of Aeronautics and Space (NASA) has devised an spacecraft built with a material capable of withstanding temperatures so high as to get close to the Sun and study it, according to the USA agency.
The spacecraft, which is about the size of a vehicle, will then loop around Venus before it makes its final run towards the giant fire ball. At its closest point, the probe will come within 4 million miles of the star's surface, placing it within the corona.
McComas has been involved in designing and planning the Parker Space Probe for more than a decade, but the mission was first identified as a priority in 1958, at the start of the space age.
Six on-board instruments will measure the sun's electric and magnetic fields, solar winds and other phenomena.
Additionally, it will carry a memory card containing over 1.1 million names, including William Shatner's, of people who asked for them to be sent into the sun.
McComas plans to be at Cape Canaveral for the launch of the Parker Space Probe. This means that if it doesn't launch on the 11th, there will be other opportunities for launch up until August 23.
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