NASA is walking on sunshine - sorta!
NASA is headed to the sun with The Parker Solar Probe!
It is about the size of a car, but mighty.
At closest approach, Parker Solar Probe hurtles around the Sun at approximately 430,000 mph. That's fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in one second! And will face temperatures approaching 2,500 F.
The Parker Solar Probe will fly within 3.8 million miles of the Sun's surface, but that is still closer (more than seven times closer) than any previous spacecraft. Helios 2 came within 27 million miles in 1976.
Flying into the outermost part of the Sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, for the first time, Parker Solar Probe will revolutionize our understanding of the corona and expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind. It will also make critical contributions to our ability to forecast changes in Earth's space environment that affect life and technology on Earth.
Scientists have sought these answers for more than 60 years, but the investigation requires sending a probe right through the intense heat of the corona. Today, this is finally possible with cutting-edge thermal engineering advances that can protect the mission on its dangerous journey. Parker Solar Probe will carry four instrument suites designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind.
The Parker Solar Probe has cleared the final procedures in the clean room (as seen above) before it will be moved to the launch pad. The launch is set to happen later this month. NASA and its mission partners have analyzed and approved an extended launch window until Aug. 23, 2018. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch no earlier than Aug. 11, 2018, at 3:48 a.m. with a window of 45 minutes and will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
To learn more about the Parker Solar Probe, visit NASA's website.