NASA launches Parker Solar Probe, a mission to ‘touch the sun’
Date: August 11, 2018
Launched and operated by: NASA
Rocket: Delta IV Heavy
The solar orbiter Parker solar orbiter is scheduled to be launched on August 11. The probe will be the first robotic mission to probe the outer corona of the Sun. The probe will conduct several flybys of the Sun as part of its highly elliptical orbit, assisted by the gravity of Venus.
Objectives of the mission Parker Solar Probe:
The unmanned solar mission is designed to answer several unanswered questions about the Sun. The probe’s findings will help trace the flow of energy that is responsible for high temperatures in the corona. The same energy is also believed to be responsible for accelerating the solar winds. The probe will also determine the structure of magnetic fields that are the source of the solar winds. Finally, it will help answer questions of how the energetic particles are accelerated and transported to the top layers.
The probe is named after physicist Eugene Parker of the University of Chicago
Timeline of scheduled flybys of Parker solar probe:
After its launch on August 11, the Parker solar probe will have six flybys with the planet Venus. This is designed to shift the perihelion of the trajectory of the probe closer to the Sun. August 16 2023 will be the final flyby the probe will have with Venus. December 19 2024 will be the first close flyby of the probe with the Sun. The probe will have four more flybys with the Sun that will let it come within 6 million kilometers of the Sun itself. The last flyby will happen on December 7 2025.
Some Amazing Facts of Parker solar probe:
- It is expected that the probe will reach a maximum velocity of upto 200 km/s. This will make it, for some time, the fastest man made object, beating the record set by Helios B.
- The probe is named after physicist Eugene Parker of the University of Chicago. This is the first NASA probe to be named after a living person.
- A memory stick containing the names of 1.1 million people has been mounted on a plaque. This has been placed below the craft’s high gain antenna.