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NASA probe launches into space to study the sun

14 August 2018
NASA probe launches into space to study the sun

"The team received a gaseous helium reg pressure alarm that kicked them out", said Mic Woltman with NASA's Launch Services Program. The shield is also built to sustain solar radiation levels 500 times greater than those that reach Earth.

Space agency Nasa postponed the launch of a satellite set to fly into the sun's atmosphere, or corona.

The launch of the Parker Solar Probe will set it on a journey all the way to the Sun's atmosphere, or corona - closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.

The probe is created to plunge into the Sun's mysterious atmosphere, known as the corona, coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometers) of its surface during a seven-year mission.

The probe is protected by an ultra-powerful heat shield that is 4.5 inches (11.43 centimeters) thick.

Nasa had a weather window of 65 minutes to launch, but the time elapsed before the issue could be resolved.

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More than 1 million names are aboard the spacecraft, submitted last spring by space enthusiasts, as well as photos of Parker, the man, and a copy of his 1958 landmark paper on solar wind.

But on the back side of that heat shield, where Parker's four instruments, its flight computer and other critical systems are located, temperatures will be maintained at a relatively cool 85 degrees.

"We are going to be in an area that is so exciting, where solar wind - we believe - will be accelerating", said NASA planetary science division director Jim Green.

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

"We are ready. We have the flawless payload. We have not been able to answer these questions".

The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system. But when NASA launched its Mariner 2 spacecraft bound for Venus in 1962, it became the first robotic probe to make a successful planetary encounter, and it verified Parker's theory. On the probe Parker spent about $ 1.5 billion.

The device will measure the electromagnetic field of the Sun and determine the nature of the particles emitted by the star. As we go from the surface of the sun, which is 10,000 degrees, and move up into the corona, we find ourselves quickly at millions of degrees.

During its historic journey, the probe will jet past Venus at speeds of 430,000 miles per hour, the equivalent of flying from NY to Tokyo in one minute.