NASA begins countdown to launch of first spacecraft to ‘touch Sun’

Nasa prepares daring mission to 'touch the Sun'

"It's a spacecraft loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve numerous largest mysteries about our star, including finding out why the sun's corona is so much hotter than its surface", said mission scientist Nicola Fox, with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Solar wind can create a whole host of issues for humans - from messing with Global Positioning System communications to exposing astronauts in space to high radiation - and the Parker Solar Probe is launching on a mission to figure out where it comes from. It's clear that as we travel deeper and deeper into space, we need a much better understanding of this "space weather".

An artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe nearing the Sun.

"This is where we live", said NASA solar astrophysicist Alex Young. "But this is not what happens on the sun".

No human efforts to study our home star _ telescopes that scan the surface, X-ray observations of the corona, spacecraft that pass over the poles _ have fully answered these questions, said Justin Kasper, a space scientist at the University of MI and leader of a particle-sampling instrument suite.

"So this is a fundamental question that drives not only how this star works, our sun, but actually all the stars in the universe".

"We're going to explore unknown territory", said Marco Velli, a UCLA space physicist and the probe's observatory scientist.

August 11, employees of NASA will send the spacecraft at the closest distance to the Sun to study the outer layer of a star and determine the strength of the wind.

This is a journey into never-never land, you might say, where it's too hot for any sensible spacecraft to function. "Why is the corona hotter than the surface of the sun?" It's like water flowing uphill, it shouldn't happen.

"And the first thing we will do when we get on orbit is encounter the planet Venus. We'll be able to image that", said Howard.

The Parker Solar Probe mission must launch by August 23 or else face a delay until next May.

NASA is all set to launch its historic small car-size probe to "touch the Sun" from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3.33 am EDT (1 pm India time) on Saturday. Forecasters are predicting a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather.

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 blast off toward the Sun with a whopping 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars. During its elliptical orbit, the Parker Solar Probe will make it up to 430,000mph, which would be a new speed record.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Turkish lira continues to nosedive, amid 'economic war' with the
Aug 11, 2018 - 23:09
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the USA of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor". Congress has led to a nascent bill that could limit Turkey's ability to obtain loans from any U.S. -based financial institutions.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Wake Forest hoops assistant threw punch that killed NYC tourist
Aug 10, 2018 - 17:54
Szabo, who was in town for a wedding, had knocked on a window of an SUV he apparently thought was his Uber ride, his family said. The Philadelphia native graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2008. "He was a really good person".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top China exports top forecasts but warning over United States tariffs impact
Aug 10, 2018 - 17:20
Due to higher imports, the trade surplus fell to $28 billion in July, which was below the expected $38.9 billion level. On July 6, the USA began taxing the 818 goods, worth $34 billion ($50 billion), remaining from the April list .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Southampton still pursuing Arsenal's Danny Welbeck, wages could be a problem
Aug 10, 2018 - 17:08
I predict goals in this game for both sides and there is only man who I trust to hit the back of the net. Manchester City look set to miss Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy, according to Physioroom. com .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Manchester United wanted to pay £100m plus for Rafael Varane
Aug 10, 2018 - 16:58
West Ham signed Spanish striker Lucas Perez from Arsenal to complete a near 100-million pounds summer spend. The Red Devils and the Foxes have had just 24 meetings between them.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Manchester City adds Mahrez, aims to retain title
Aug 10, 2018 - 16:34
Mourinho has won three Premier League titles with Chelsea and two Champions League trophies as Porto and Inter Milan manager. Predictions are hard , especially when it comes to season long ones, or at least they usually are.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pochettino Explains Real Reason Why Tottenham Didn't Sign Any Players This Summer
Aug 10, 2018 - 15:26
Pochettino continued: "It was a unusual transfer market because until England was out [of the World Cup] no-one was moving".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Watch Today's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct Here!
Aug 09, 2018 - 03:27
Among the announcements was that when the game launches on December 7, it will be available in a bundle called Super Smash Bros . Players will have 28 hours worth of music tracks to pick from, but you won't be able to play just any theme music on any stage .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NASA Taps Astronauts for Commercial Flights
Aug 09, 2018 - 02:11
He has a master's degree in physics and is a US Navy test pilot who has served in more than 20 combat missions. Since then, every nation on Earth has relied on Russian Federation to get to the International Space Station.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Disney quarterly profit falls short as streaming costs rise
Aug 09, 2018 - 02:02
Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted at potential Fox related Marvel content for its upcoming streaming service today. This will include not only Marvel films, but all of the Star Wars movies and Disney releases as well.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Oscars announce new changes to upcoming ceremonies, including a shorter telecast
Aug 08, 2018 - 22:33
We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you . Bailey and Hudson said eligibility requirements will be determined at a later date.

The Sixth Day of Paul Manafort's Trial Was Indirectly About Donald Trump
Aug 08, 2018 - 21:42
The loan was actually income disguised to lower Manafort's taxes, he said, and then forgiven to help Manafort get a loan. Gates was hired by Manafort to serve as deputy campaign chairman and later had a role on Mr Trump's inaugural committee.

Trump vows to impose tariffs on more Chinese goods
Aug 08, 2018 - 20:55
At the same time, Beijing reported a $28.1bn trade surplus with the U.S. in July, just below the record $28.9bn seen in June. The latest charge comes after the US said it would implement another round of tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Klopp reminds Liverpool fans of Henderson importance
Aug 07, 2018 - 23:57
As things stand, Chelsea appear the sole club in the race for Fekir with Liverpool not necessarily needing another attacker following the arrival of Xherdan Shaqiri.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bachelorette Becca Kufrin on fiance Garrett Yrigoyen's racist, transphobic past
Aug 07, 2018 - 23:51
Yrigoyen reiterated his apology and said he is "just trying to grow as a person and be a better person on a daily basis". I really feel like I've not only found my partner in this, but I've also found myself", she said during the finale.