NASA's Parker Solar Probe is all set for its Scheduled Launch

Artist’s concept of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun. Pic Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Artist’s concept of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun. Pic Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has announced its Delta IV heavy rocket is in final reparations to launch NASA´s Parker Solar Probe from Space Launch Complex-37 on August 11, the company said. Protected by a sophisticated heat shield the probe is created to go closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft.

Giacolene says that advancements in technology will pave the way for new exploration and new discoveries. NASA hopes the mission will help them better understand the sun and how it impacts life here on Earth and our assets, such as satellites, in space. After that late September flyby, the Parker should make its first close approach to the sun on November 1 - the first of about two dozen solar passes and seven gravity assists from Venus.

After making its closest approach in late 2024, the spacecraft will run out of fuel and be destroyed. Notably, the Parker Solar Probe is also the first NASA spacecraft to be named after a living person.

Although much of the Sun's structure is still something of a mystery to us, the PSP is full of possibility.

Before arriving at the sun, Parker will make seven Venus flybys in seven years, using the planet's gravity to get closer to the sun with each flyby. The probe will take NASA scientists closer to the sun than any other spacecraft has ever gone before.

Launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Parker Solar Probe will make its journey all the way to the Sun's atmosphere, or corona - closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.

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Although the probe itself is about the size of a auto, a powerful rocket is needed to escape Earth's orbit, change direction and reach the sun. As we continue to receive data over the next seven years, scientists will hopefully start to piece together a picture of why the corona is so hot and how space weather is formed, which is critical as we venture further and further into space.

The mission dates back to a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal in 1958 by Dr. Eugene Parker, the mission's namesake.

The probe will hurtle through the sizzling solar atmosphere and come within just 6 million km from the solar surface, seven times closer than any other spacecraft.

He traveled to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where the spacecraft was built, for a "Parker, meet Parker!" encounter. It will also carry more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public that will eventually "orbit the sun forever", Fox said.

"We've looked at it", said Nicola Fox who is among the scientists working with NASA on the probe". One set, called the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons, will scoop up particles to measure characteristics like their speed and temperature.

"I'm sure that there will be some surprises", Parker said.

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