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Delta IV Heavy Parker Solar Probe Launch Highlights

Delta IV Heavy Parker Solar Probe Launch Highlights”

At closest approach to the sun, the front of PSP's solar shield faces temperatures approaching 2,500 degrees F. The spacecraft's payload will be near room temperature.

A triple-core Delta IV Heavy rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral just after 3:30 a.m. Sunday, momentarily turning night into day in a spectacle visible for miles along the Florida coast.

NASA's much-anticipated Parker Solar Probe - a spacecraft which it is said will "touch" the sun - has been launched from Cape Canaveral.

Passing within 3.8 million miles of the sun's visible surface - well within the shimmering halo of the outer atmosphere, or corona - the spacecraft's heat shield will endure 2,500-degree heating while whipping past the star at a record 430,000 mph, fast enough to fly from NY to Tokyo in less than a minute.

"The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world", Nicola Fox, mission project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement of the mission."And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are lovely ― but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere".

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No human-made vehicle has ever come so close - leading the American space agency to claim the probe will "touch" the sun.

The spacecraft is the only NASA probe in history to be named after a living person - 91-year-old solar physicist Eugene Parker, who first described the solar wind in 1958. It has been outfitted with a heat shield created to keep its instruments at a tolerable 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) even as the spacecraft faces temperatures reaching almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius) at its closest pass.

The spacecraft is equipped with a 4.5-inch-thick, 8-foot-wide carbon composite shield that should keep the electronics at their proper operating temperature even amid temperatures that would melt aluminum. Hurling a spacecraft to the sun can actually make sense.

At those speeds, the spacecraft will reach the sun by November, and scientists hope to have early data back from the probe by the end of the year.

According to NASA, the mission to reach the sun's atmosphere will take about seven years.

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He added: "It's a whole new phase and it's gonna be fascinating throughout.and we're just waiting for the data now so the experts can get busy because there's a lot of data will be coming in".

The plan is that it will slingshot around Venus a load of times, gradually building up speed and moving closer and closer to our galaxy's star.

"All I have to say is wow, here we go".

The Parker Solar Probe's launch marked a special milestone for one solar scientist: Eugene Parker.

"We've had to wait so long for our technology to catch up with our dreams", Fox said.

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"With each orbit, we'll be seeing new regions of the sun's atmosphere and learning things about stellar mechanics that we've wanted to explore for decades".



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