NASA is off – to the sun, for 7 years, to touch it, to orbit it for 24 times.
The Parker Solar Probe lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 3:31 a.m. Eastern Development Time. In an hour Nasa tweeted the spacecraft had successfully separated and the probe was released into space. The spacecraft is expected to cross Venus in 6 weeks.
The probe is supposed to be the fastest moving manmade object in history.
Watch the video of the launch as tweeted by NASA
#ParkerSolarProbe lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:31 a.m. EDT aboard a @ulalaunch #DeltaIVHeavy! 🚀 Follow along with the mission here and at https://t.co/KOu1HaS2K3 as we explore the Sun like never before. pic.twitter.com/BSAtpb6QVr
— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) August 12, 2018
The rocket is named after an astrophysicist Eugene Parker, and is the first rocket to be named after a living person.
Over the course of seven years, Parker will make 24 loops around our star to study the physics of the corona, the place where much of the important activity that affects the Earth seems to originate.
The probe will dip inside this tenuous atmosphere, sampling conditions, and getting to just 6.16 million km (3.83 million miles) from the Sun’s broiling “surface”.
NASA has explained how the probe is going to withstand such high temperatures:
“Why won’t the #ParkerSolarProbe spacecraft melt?” is a perfectly reasonable question to ask about this morning’s launch to “touch” the Sun. Watch our engineers use a blowtorch to demonstrate 🔥🔥🔥: https://t.co/RL38PIfEa6 pic.twitter.com/XIA9NF8HLP
— NASA (@NASA) August 12, 2018