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Space & Astronomy

NASA officially announces mission to the Sun

By T.K. Randall
June 2, 2017 · Comment icon 40 comments

An artist's impression of the probe. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
The probe, which has been renamed the Parker Solar Probe, will be launching as early as next year.
NASA has finally confirmed the details of the mission which, for the first time, will be sending a spacecraft to within a mere four million miles of the Sun's surface.

Its name is a tribute to American solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker who originally predicted the existence of the solar wind, something that at the time was considered 'crazy' by his peers.

One of the things that the spacecraft will be investigating is the fact that, counter-intuitively, the temperature is actually much, much hotter in the Sun's atmosphere than on its surface.
Unsurprisingly though, building a probe capable of withstanding such extreme temperatures is no easy task. Physicist Tim Horbury has described it as "just on the edge of achievable".

"There is a tiny spacecraft cowering behind this big heat shield," he said. "It is just extreme - everything is different when you are that close in [to the sun]."

"The thing about space is everyone has done the easy stuff - we are only left with the difficult things, so by definition this is risky. They are really pushing the limits of what is possible."

"But that is the way you make progress."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (40)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #31 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 6 years ago
In NASA's 2017 budget they account for 0,45 % (19,5 billion $) of the US federal budget. The US currently spends more than 30 times more on defence than they do on NASA. True I'm not a US citizen so its not for me to choose what to do with the money, but I think its something to think about. ESA's buget is curently around 5,25 billion Euroes, but since most ESA members (including my country) have independent space agencies aswell I don't know the total amount of money spend on space exploration by its member states.  Space exploration actually is a net benefit for the economy of most countries... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by Farmer77 6 years ago
 You're singing my song amigo! We need to strip that "defense" budget by somewhere in the order of  tens of billions and prioritize that money for something useful. 
Comment icon #33 Posted by bmk1245 6 years ago
How much $ that would be per 10 calories? With such numbers of "powerty", 'mericans should lead in "leanest" contest, though, last time I checked, US is uncontested morbid obesity champion.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Farmer77 6 years ago
The perverse and twisted reality of America is its very often cheaper to eat garbage food, which contains less nutrition, more preservatives and more calories , i.e a large pizza at Little Caesars for 5 bucks, or 4 cheeseburgers for 4 bucks vs. 10 bucks to make a decent, albeit meatless, salad. 
Comment icon #35 Posted by bmk1245 6 years ago
Wow... Food is food, there is no "garbage" food. Calling food "garbage" is highest degree of idiocy.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Farmer77 6 years ago
  You mentioned obesity as it relates to poverty. I explained to you a very concrete factor in said obesity in America. There is such a thing as garbage food. It is food high in calories and low in nutrition. I am fixing to eat some garbage food for lunch right now , thankfully I can afford to buy fresh greens and vegetables for a green smoothie for breakfast and Ill be having a clean fresh chicken breast for dinner. Poor folks often dont have those options. 
Comment icon #37 Posted by bmk1245 6 years ago
Once again - there is no garbage food, there are bad eating habits. Don't dare to put food and garbage in the same sentence/paragraph.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Merc14 6 years ago
Enslaving an entire population by clothing, feeding and housing for generations is an incredibly cruel thing to do in the name of compassion.  Simply throwing money at a hunger problem when record numbers of food stamps are now being used is not the answer and doing so in the name of compassion, while starving our future in space, is a shortsighted and self-destructive path to take.   snip.... This is WILDLY off-topic so I apologize for posting it and have nothing further to say on the subject, let's keep it in the appropriate forum.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Farmer77 6 years ago
My apologies to the thread as well. 
Comment icon #40 Posted by bmk1245 6 years ago
Agree. Damn, I forgot what topic was about... One of the quirks by getting old...

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