Parker Solar Probe begins it’s voyage to the great star
NASA launched it’s long awaited Parker Solar Probe this Sunday at 3:31 a.m. EDT, hours before sunrise in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located in Florida, and now makes it’s two month journey to the Sun in order to research and study the sun, along with it’s structure, plasma, magnetic fields, electric fields and the energetic particles of the corona so that we not only have more complete knowledge of these characteristics, but that we improve our forecasts of space weather events and overall achieve a better understanding of the universe.
“This mission truly marks humanity’s first visit to a star that will have implications not just here on Earth, but how we better understand our universe,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “We’ve accomplished something that decades ago, lived solely in the realm of science fiction.”
Parker will begin testing it’s instruments on the first days of September and will do so for about four weeks, these instruments are designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and capture images of the solar wind, and, over the next two months, Parker will arrive to Venus, where it will make use of the planet’s gravity to perform a maneuver called the “gravity assist” whipping the Probe around the planet and trimming it’s orbit to the Sun as close as possible, then back around again, this maneuver will be performed 7 times, each time getting closer to the last to the patriarch star at a speed of 430,000 miles per hour as the fastest, all of this while being protected by a a cutting-edge heath shield that will allow the spacecraft to get as close as 4 million miles.
The mission is named for Eugene Parker, the physicist who first theorized the existence of the solar wind in 1958, Eugene Parker was present during the Probe Launch and was rightfully exited. It’s the first NASA mission to be named for a living researcher.
Lastly, the Parker probe carries with it a plaque with the quote “Let’s see what lies ahead.” dedicated to Eugene Parker and the memory card holding the 1.1 million names submitted by the public.