NASA Postpones Launch Of Spacecraft To ‘Touch Sun’

NASA Postpones Launch Of Spacecraft To ‘Touch Sun’

NASA calls this mismatch "the coronal heating problem", and hopes the Parker Solar Probe will solve the mystery of why the corona reaches temperatures of up to 10 million degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat shield is built to withstand radiation equivalent up to about 500 times the Sun's radiation here on Earth.

NASA's planned mission to explore the sun was delayed Saturday as the rocket failed to take off during the designated launch window.

The probe will be 3.9 million miles from the sun's surface, making it the closest spacecraft to the sun's surface in history.

The probe will fly into a region where temperatures exceed a million degrees Fahrenheit (555,000 degrees Celsius) but the sun is expected to heat the shield to a relatively modest 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius).

The crown is not only 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun, but it also emits powerful plasma energy and particles that can cause geomagnetic space storms, which can cause serious damage on Earth, disrupting power grids. The launch window lasts 65 minutes, according to ULA.

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"Parker Solar Probe will carry four instrument suites created to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind".

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"The only way we can do that is to finally go up and touch the sun", said project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University.

This July 6, 2018 photo made available by NASA shows the Parker Solar Probe in a clean room at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Fla. "Some high-energy solar particles accelerate to almost half the speed of light, and we don't know why". It was then scrubbed by NASA and the teams will attempt a launch on Sunday morning.

The probe's instruments also will map the sun's powerful magnetic field, as well as the torrent of electrically charged particles that are constantly blasted away into space in explosive outbursts, and the mechanism that accelerates those particles to extreme velocities.

Parker said he was "impressed" by the Parker Solar Probe, calling it "a very complex machine".

Once on its way, the Parker probe will venture closer to our star than any other spacecraft.

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.

The spacecraft is named for Eugene Parker, the University of Chicago scientist who first theorized the existence of the solar wind in 1958.