The mission will launch in August. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
NASA's $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe will be venturing closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.
At its closest approach, the probe will fly 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, building a probe capable of withstanding such extreme temperatures is no easy task.
"It's only been recently that the technology of heat shields and everything else has converged well enough that we could make this a reality," said heliophysicist Craig DeForest.
"[The mission] is going to answer a lot of questions that we couldn't answer in any other way."
Source: Science News | Comments (5)
Parker Solar Probe, Sun