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After launch, the spacecraft will orbit directly through the solar atmosphere - the corona - closer to the surface than any human-made object has ever gone.

If everything goes as planned, the Parker Solar Probe will reach its first close point to the Sun this November, resulting in the first batch of data in December. You see, just like that whimsical fire, the corona glows far, far hotter than the furnace that is the Sun itself.

Teams are proceeding for a launch at 2:33 a.m. Saturday on a Decatur-built United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Parker Solar Probe.

NASA postponed until Sunday the launch of the first ever spacecraft to fly directly toward the Sun on a mission to plunge into our star's sizzling atmosphere and unlock its mysteries.

Parker, now retired from the University of Chicago, spent his career trying to understand the sun and the ways it affects the solar system. "Our first fly-by to Venus is in the fall, in September".

And two sets of instruments study those solar-wind particles.

In all, the spacecraft will make 24 elongated laps around the Sun, closer than the orbit of Mercury, the innermost planet. Why in this region does the solar atmosphere suddenly get so energized that it escapes from the hold of the sun and bathes all of the planets?

To withstand the 2500-degree heat, scientists have developed a four-inch carbon shield to keep the instruments inside the $1.5 billion probe at room temperature. And what powers the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that flows outward from the corona at speeds on the order of a million miles per hour?

"NASA was planning to send a mission to the solar corona for decades, however, we did not have the technology that could protect a spacecraft and its instruments from the heat", said Szabo.

"We're going to explore unknown territory", said Marco Velli, a UCLA space physicist and the probe's observatory scientist. So we'll launch from from Kennedy on Saturday (August 11) morning on our handsome Delta 4 Heavy. He added that, the sun temperature vary at times depending with the amount of gas being burn hence estimating the punishment the solar probe will receive was harder and almost impossible by from the help from several scientist, the probe was created to adjust to certain levels of thermal and radiant heat.

"And last but not least, we have a white light imager that is taking images of the atmosphere right in front of the Sun".

As reported by the Inquisitr, Dr. Parker was the first one to postulate the existence of solar wind in 1958.

Also on board: more than 1 million names of space fans submitted to NASA this past spring.

The Parker Solar Probe mission must launch by August 23 or else face a delay until next May. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what's going on in the solar wind.


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