AUG 12, 2018 07:30 PM PDT

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Rockets Toward the Sun

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There’s been some serious hype regarding NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in recent memory, but now all that hype is now closer than it ever has been to realization.

At approximately 3:31 A.M. Eastern time on Sunday, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket ignited its engines at Cape Canaveral, Florida’s Space Launch Complex-37 and hoisted the Parker Solar Probe high enough above the Earth’s atmosphere to begin its long journey toward the Sun.

The United Launch Alliance rocket lifts the Parker Solar Probe into space on Sunday.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Around two hours after the launch transpired, mission operators for NASA confirmed that Parker Solar Probe reached outer space safe and sound and that it was functioning correctly.

“This mission truly marks humanity’s first visit to a star that will have implications not just here on Earth, but how we better understand our universe,” said Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA.

“We’ve accomplished something that decades ago, lived solely in the realm of science fiction.”

Related: Despite their name, solar tornadoes don't actually spin

The Parker Solar Probe, named after renowned physicist Eugene Parker, will fly closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft before it. There, it will investigate our Sun and the properties of its magnetic fields and solar storms, which pack enough power to fry the very electronics we use every day here on Earth. 

As the Parker Solar Probe orbits the Sun, it will endure temperatures exceeding 2,500º Fahrenheit. Protecting its sensitive scientific instruments is a revolutionary heat shield comprised of two carbon-carbon composite layers; sandwiched between these is a 4.5-inch thick carbon foam core that acts as an insulator.

At the start of September, NASA will begin testing the Parker Solar Probe’s integrated scientific equipment to ensure working order. A month later, the probe is expected to harness Venus’ gravitational influence like a slingshot to accelerate toward the Sun.

Once the Parker Solar Probe reaches its destination, it will spend seven years surveying the Sun and transmitting raw data back to scientists on Earth for analysis.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
When Can We Expect Another Nearby Supernova?
Once most stars reach the end of their life cycle, they’ll explode with a gleaming white-hot intensity, an event that’s often referred to by as...
DEC 09, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 09, 2019
8 More to the List: What Does the Growing Number of Repeating Fast Radio Bursts Mean to Astrophysicists
The story of Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) started back in 2007, when Australian astronomer Duncan Lorimer and his student discovered a set of puzzling data reco...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
InSight Lander's Stymied 'Mole' On the Move Again
NASA’s InSight mission touched down on the Martian surface just under a year ago and has since deployed a suite of scientific instruments to investig...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
Mars 2020 Rover Carries Full Weight on Wheels for First Time
NASA has been working on an advanced successor to the Martian Curiosity rover for quite some time. Dubbed the Mars 2020 rover, the upgraded SUV-sized auton...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
ESA's Solar Orbiter is Nearly Ready to Launch
Move over Parker Solar Probe, there’s a new Sun-orbiting spacecraft in town. The European Space Agency has completed the assembly of the Solar Orbite...
DEC 09, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 09, 2019
Neutron Star Merger Fused Atomic Nuclei, Spilled Out Heavy Element
It is safe to say that we live in a world of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements in the periodic table. Born minutes after the Big Bang, the two mak...
Loading Comments...