NASA will soon launch its Parker Solar Probe towards Sun but that’s not all. It is the first object to travel close to a distance of 3.9 million miles from the Sun. But that’s definitely not all it’s being talked about. The probe bears the name of William Shatner whose character in the ‘Star Trek’ franchise discovers solar systems across the Universe. William Shatner is an active partner promoting the event by NASA asking people to sign up for ‘Hot ticket to the sun’ where names of entrants will be fed on a memory chip and then, affixed on the probe that will be launched towards the Sun to collect helpful data. As per estimates, more than 200,000 names have been registered so far. You can send your name to the Sun until April 27.
Parker Solar Probe, named after retired astrophysicist Eugene Parker of the University of Chicago, will be launched between the window of July 13 and August 19 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The probe will collect data on the solar wind, ionized gases that shoot out from the sun at a velocity of few million miles an hour. It will also study the massive coronal mass ejection as well as the outermost layer of sun known as Corona which can soar up to 900,000-degrees Fahrenheit. As per Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator at NASA’s Washington D.C’ headquarter, the probe will be the first of its kind to explore sun up so close which has never been explored so far.
The probe will make total 24 orbits around the Sun over the period of seven years facing extremely hot heat blasts and radiation which will be the hottest at the uppermost layer when the probe will reach its nearest approach of 3.9 million miles. The probe will escalate to the velocity of 430,000 miles an hour when approaching the Sun. To put things into perspective, to cover the distance between Philadelphia to Washington D.C, it would take just a second for the probe to reach its destination. The probe is the size of a small size car and is currently being tested at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
The spacecraft features a 4.5-inch thick carbon composite shield that will protect the probe and its various instruments from the extreme temperature near the Sun. The probe will help scientists uncover mysterious regarding sun that has been accumulated in last six decades and more. It will also help to understand how the sun affects space and other factors under heliophysics field.