Sun is one of the most important component of space that sustains are life in many ways than one. This particular star-on-fire has been our natural power supply on this planet. NASA of course knows its importance and has been studying this star from a safe distance. To get any closer to such a giant ball of fire can be task, even for organizations like NASA.
Parker Solar Probe, as named after a scientist called Eugene Parker would be the first spacecraft to actually go “touch the Sun”, as quoted by NASA officials. This spacecraft is named after the person who first spoke about the existence of something called solar wind.
The Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to be launched in 2018, July 31st. The spacecraft has been taken from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to its Joint Base Andrews recently. They are both located in Maryland. After this journey, the spacecraft was flown straight to Florida for further testing. According to chalked out plan, the final assembly of this special spacecraft is destined at Astrotech Space Operations. Post all these formalities of pre-launch work, it is to wait for its Sun-trip.
End of July will see the probe launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It is planned to go for a seven years long mission. The mission involves critical and close observations of the wonder star. There are still a lot of grey areas when it comes to research on Sun, which this mission aims to shine light on. The data collected from this can help space weather forecasting easier than it is now.
The estimated cost of the mission will be $1.5 billion, in which the probe is set to make around 24 passes of the Sun along with its orbits. The probe has thick carbon shields around it to prevent destruction from the high temperatures of the Sun. Nearest, it is set to reach a distance of about 3.9 million miles close to the Sun.