Have you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to see the Sun up close? Your dream might very well come true as NASA announced that the Parker Solar Probe’s, humanity’s first attempt to study the star at a very close range, has been scheduled to launch sometime this year. The agency announced that the probe can also carry your name on its way to the Sun.
Parker Solar Probe to Permeate the Sun’s Atmosphere
According to Thomas Zurbuchen, associated administrator at NASA’s Science, the launch of the Parker Solar Probe is a milestone in space exploration, as no attempt has been made to study the Sun’s surface at close range.
The spacecraft is scheduled to set out some time this year and, according to the space agency, it will get within four million miles of the star’s surface. As Zurbuchen pointed out, the Parker Sun Probe has been designed and built to withstand high amounts of solar radiation and heat. Its thick thermal shield must protect the onboard instruments from temperatures as high as 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 1372 degrees Celsius).
Upon entering the Sun’s atmosphere, the probe will relay back information pertaining to solar winds and clouds with charged particles. Moreover, the Parker Solar Probe will spend some time studying how energy and heat move through the Sun’s atmosphere.
NASA has also allowed the public to take part in this project. Until the 27th of April, solicitors can visit the space agency’s website and ask their names to be taken to the Sun. More specifically, NASA will write all these names on a memory card which will be carried by the Parker Solar Probe for the duration of the mission.
Zurbuchen ended his statement by saying the probe’s findings will end six decades worth of hypotheses about the Sun’s inner workings.
Image source: JPL/NASA