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Parker Solar Probe | NASA set for August launch of its sun mission

Media invited on 13 July to view the spacecraft that has been designed to touch the sun.

SNS | New Delhi |

NASA, for the first time, will launch a spacecraft to touch the sun. Parker Solar Probe will reach the outermost surface of the sun’s  atmosphere called Corona, and will provide unprecedented details and information about the sun.

Media has been invited to view the Spacecraft and interview the program officials at 1.30 pm on Friday, 13 July, at the Astrotech Space Operations payload processing facility in Titusville, Florida. The event is open to US Citizens only who possess a government issued photo ID and a proof of US Citizenship.

According to a NASA statement, the spacecraft will fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere from a distance of 4 million miles from its surface, within the orbit of Mercury.

Parker Solar Probe is set to launch in August at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at Florida at about 4 am with an approximate one hour duration. Northrop Grumman is providing the rocket’s fully-integrated third stage.

The probe is named after Eugene Parker, who first postulated a theory  that high-speed matter and magnetism constantly escaped the sun, and that it affected the planets and space throughout our solar system.

The spacecraft will not only observe how energy and heat move through the sun’s atmosphere but also to understand how the solar wind and space weather works and what accelerates the solar wind and solar wind variations. Their changing conditions and variations can affect the Earth and other planets too, according to NASA.

Solar wind is a collection of charged particles that travels from the sun’s hot Corona and travels in all directions including the Earth’s atmosphere as Sun being the only source of light and heat.

However, Space weather are the set of changes caused due to disturbances in the solar wind.

United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is the provider of the Delta IV launch service for Parker Solar Probe. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy, is responsible for launch service acquisition, integration, analysis and launch management.