‘Touch the sun’: NASA spacecraft hurtles toward our star

13 August, 2018, 04:06 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • Parker Solar Probe launch

For more on this and other news around the world we turn to our Ro Aram...

NASA on Sunday successfully launched the Parker Solar Probe, the United States space agency's historic small car-size probe to 'touch the Sun, ' from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch was originally set for Saturday morning, but was scrubbed at the last minute due to technical glitches.

The rocket sets a number of records. The first data download from the Parker Solar Probe is expected in early December after the probe reaches its first close approach of the sun in November.

The £1.17billion ($1.5billion) mission will study the sun's incredibly hot outer atmosphere, called the corona, as well as the charged particles that flow off the star and into the solar system. But an 8-foot-wide heat shield out front - only 4.5 inches thick - should keep the probe's electronics safe at room temperature.

"This could be from hydrogen particles beyond the solar system interacting with the furthest reaches of the solar wind, creating what appears to be a boundary in the distance, according to the paper published this week in Geophysical Research Letters".

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A Nasa handout photo shows an artist's impression of the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) approaching the Sun.

"We'll also be the fastest human-made object ever, travelling around the Sun at speeds of up to 690,000km/h (430,000mph) - NY to Tokyo in under a minute".

This is the first time Nasa has named a spacecraft after a living person.

The probe will be 3.9 million miles from the sun's surface, making it the closest spacecraft to the sun's surface in history.

Thousands of spectators jammed the launch site, including 91-year-old astrophysicist Eugene Parker for whom the spacecraft is named.

It will be the fastest human-made object with speeds up to 430,000 miles per hour, able to survive million degree temperatures, orbiting the sun just 4 million miles from its surface, after a 90 million-mile trip, to get the first measurements of the sun's energy.

Turkish lira slumps to new record low as Donald Trump doubles tariffs
Trump has described Brunson's detention as a "total disgrace" and urged Erdogan to free him "immediately". He also wrote in the New York Times that Ankara will be forced to look for "new friends and allies".

"We've accomplished something that decades ago, lived exclusively in the realm of science fiction", he added, describing the probe as one of NASA's "strategically important" missions.

"Go, baby, go!" project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University shouted at liftoff.

It was the first rocket launch ever witnessed by Parker, a retired University of Chicago professor. "We're in for some learning over the next several years".

"What's so cool about all of this is hanging out with Parker and seeing his emotion", Zurbuchen said, adding that Parker went from being excited about the launch to being excited about the science to come.

NASA said the mission to "touch the Sun" will provide scientists with vital new information about our solar system and beyond.

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

Crews battle growing wildfire near homes in California
Trabuco and Holy Jim canyons were also under mandatory evacuation orders, as well as the Blue Jay and El Cariso campgrounds. The Holy Fire - named for Holy Jim Canyon where it began Monday - grew to almost 85 square kilometres by Saturday morning.

As he watched the spacecraft fly into the sky, Parker joked: "I'll bet you 10 bucks it works".

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