Sun-Touching Parker Solar Probe Successfully Launched By NASA

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By NASA/Scott Andrews via Wikimedia Commons

A mission to send a satellite to “touch the Sun” was successfully launched by NASA.

This morning, the space agency of the United States of America, was able to launch the Parker solar probe satellite at 03:31 local time, or 07:31 GMT, from the Cape Canaveral air force station that is located in Florida.

The probe is set to be the fastest-moving manmade object recorded in history. Its data vows to crack the longstanding mysteries regarding the behaviour of the Sun.

The said spacecraft was named after Eugene Parker, the living astrophysicist 91-year-old who explored solar wind way back in 1958.

After watching the lift-off from the scene, Parker stated: “Wow, here we go! We’re in for some learning over the next several years.”. Parker is working as a professor in the University of Chicago. He said that he had been biting his nails in anticipation.

NASA said that the Parker solar probe will be able to “travel closer to the Sun, deeper into the solar atmosphere, than any mission before it.”

The mission scientist for the Parker solar probe, Adam Szabo, stated: “Eight long years of hard work by countless engineers and scientists are finally paying off.”  Szavo is assigned at the Goddard space flight centre of NASA in Maryland.

Travelling into the corona of the Sun has meant that the spacecraft had to be furnished with a custom heat shield and autonomous system in order to protect it from the intense light emissions of the Sun.

The Parker probe will also make use of the gravity of Venus in order to be able to get closer to the Sun. It will fly past Venus seven times during the said mission, each time getting closer to the Sun.

This morning’s successful launch comes after NASA pulled the mission yesterday because of last-minute technical difficulties. An alarm that was raised during the 65-minute weather window could not be resolved before the time elapsed.

Read also: Parker Solar Probe Space Flight Bound For The Sun Delayed By NASA