SEE – August 12th: NASA launched what could be the first spacecraft to be very close to
the sun. The Parker Solar Probe rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral,
The probe is set to become the fastest-moving man-made vehicle in
history and is programmed to collect never seen before data about the
The probe was named after astrophysicist Eugene Parker, 91 who stated
upon seeing the launching of the space craft “Wow, here we go! We’re
in for some learning over the next several years,” he said after
watching the lift-off from the scene.
The Delta-IV Heavy rocket – which was carrying the probe – launched at
03:31 local time (07:31 GMT).
NASA confirmed that the spacecraft had successfully separated and the
probe had been released into space an hour after it’s launching.
It is expected that over the next seven years, the craft will make
24 loops around the sun to study the physics of the corona, the origin
of the important activity that affects the Earth seems to originate.
The probe will dip inside this tenuous atmosphere, sampling
conditions, and getting to just 6.16 million km (3.83 million miles)
from the Sun’s broiling “surface”.
The British-born project scientist Dr Nicky Fox, who is affiliated to
the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory stated to BBC news. “I
realise that might not sound that close, but imagine the Sun and the
Earth were a metre apart. Parker Solar Probe would be just 4cm away
from the Sun,”
“We’ll also be the fastest human-made object ever, travelling around
the Sun at speeds of up to 690,000km/h (430,000mph) – New York to
Tokyo in under a minute!”