NASA has successfully launched Parker Solar Probe, its mission to send a satellite closer to the Sun than any before, first time named after a living person, honoring astrophysicist Eugene Parker.
Eugene Parker, 91, first described solar wind in 1958 and made many clear understanding about the solar winds. Naming a probe after him will be tribute from NASA and is for the first time in history that NASA has names a probe after a living person.
— NASA (@NASA) August 12, 2018
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket lifted from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:31AM EDT (07:31 GMT), carrying NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.
The probe is set to become the fastest-moving manmade object or fastest spacecraft in history. When the probe begins its final orbits it will be moving, at speed of approximately 430,000 miles per hour (700,000 kilometers per hour). Its data promises to crack longstanding mysteries about the Sun’s behaviour.
The probe is headed towards the Sun with a 55 times more energy than it is required to reach Mars. It weighs near 1400 pounds (635 kg). It has a estimated lifetime of about 7 years.
“Wow, here we go! We’re in for some learning over the next several years“, Eugene Parker said as he watched the lift-off.
Soon after the launch, Solar Panels of the spacecraft was deployed successfully.
— NASA_LSP (@NASA_LSP) August 12, 2018
It came after a failed attempt the previous day, when a last-minute alarm caused the agency to miss its 65-minute weather window.
The probe carries a memory card having names of 1.1 million people and photos of Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, and a copy of his 1958 scientific paper.
The Parker Solar Probe will be the first spacecraft to fly into the low solar corona. It will determine the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s coronal magnetic field, understand how the solar corona and solar winds are heated and accelerated, and determine what processes accelerate energetic particles.