Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

NASA Parker Solar Probe to launch from Cape Canaveral

NASA Parker Solar Probe to launch from Cape Canaveral

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 NASA's long-planned attempt to "Touch the Sun" and the probe will get far closer to our host star than any man-made object ever has.

Nasa's Parker Solar Probe is now on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Its mission is to help scientists unlock the mysteries of the sun's atmosphere and answer questions like why its corona, the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere, is hotter than its surface.

The powerful rocket is needed to propel the payload, NASA's Parker Solar Probe, to the sun.

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"It can impact our technology, it disrupts our communications, it can knock out satellites, it creates a hazardous environment for astronauts, and it also can even impact our power grids here on Earth", NASA heliophysicist Alex Young said.

A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY. Ultimately, the more we can learn about the Sun, the better. "Our first fly-by to Venus is in the fall, in September".

On each close approach to the sun, the probe will sample the solar wind, study the sun's corona, and provide close-up observations from around the star.

You've already heard plenty about the Parker Solar Probe over the past year or so and with good reason. And as it draws near, the spacecraft will be accelerated by our star's intense gravity to a stupendous speed - estimated to be 430,000 miles per hour.That will make the probe the fastest human-made object, eclipsing the twin Helios probes that zoomed along at 157,000 miles per hour on their sun-circling trajectories. Its launch window will open at 3.48am (eastern daylight time, or 7.48am Greenwich mean time) on Saturday 11 August.

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