NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will “Touch the Sun” this Weekend


A special event will take place on Saturday, 11th of August, in the morning, as the Parker Solar Probe will be launched by NASA, beginning its spectacular mission with the purpose of “touching” the Sun. The spacecraft is set to launch from Cape Canaveral.

This is the first time such an event takes place

Until now, the Sun has been observed only from far, but now, thanks to this new mission, we will be able to take a closer look at it. The spacecraft will attempt to get closer to the Sun than any other space vehicle before. The main purpose of this mission is to explore the corona, the atmosphere of the Sun, as well as the solar wind that goes into space.

Slowly advancing towards the Sun

In the next seven years following the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, the spacecraft will try to get closer to the Sun, until it arrives at a distance of approximately 6.25 million km from its “surface”. This will allow the space vehicle to plunge through the uppermost layer of the solar corona.

The probe will take samples of the environment of the corona, which should provide scientists with some answers to extremely important questions about the Sun. One of them is why is the corona of the Sun much hotter than its surface? Even though scientists have some hints about what the answer could be, we are far from uncovering the mystery.

We could use a new “space weather” station

At the moment, there are a few weather stations that are gathering data about the space weather, however, not as many as we would need. Scientists are encountering problems with the timing of the readings, because apparently, it can take days for the satellites in orbit around Earth to get the data connected to activity that happens close to the Sun. Therefore, the new spacecraft could provide us with more timely information and from a nearer distance to the Sun. This will definitely help the scientists to better predict the space weather.


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