PHOTOS Parker Solar Probe launched to 'touch the sun'

PHOTOS

Parker Solar Probe launched to 'touch the sun'

VCG

18:44, August 13, 2018

The Parker Solar probe was launched on board a Delta 4 Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral on August 12.

Video source: VCG

Its seven-year mission will bring it to within 3.8 million miles of the solar surface.

That might sound like a lot - but its seven times closer than any previous spacecraft.

The probe will travel into the Sun's solar corona - that's the hazardous region of intense heat and solar radiation that you can see during an eclipse.

There it will be up against temperatures reaching nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1,370 degrees Celsius.

A heat shield has been designed to keep Parker's instruments at a tolerable 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius.

The corona gives rise to solar winds - a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system and can cause havoc with communications technology on Earth.

NASA hopes the probe - which is set to become the fastest manmade object in history - will penetrate longstanding mysteries about solar physics that have puzzled scientists for decades. 

The Parker Solar Probe was launched on Sunday in a mission to venture closer to the Sun than ever before.

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