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Could your name join Nasa's mission to touch the sun?

09 March, 2018, 03:38 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Parker Solar Probe

The US space agency on Tuesday said it would accept submissions until April 27, 2018. Recently, its name has been changed to Parker Solar Probe from its previous name Solar Probe Plus to honor the Emeritus Professor Eugene Parker who serves as an astrophysicist at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago.

Bottom line: NASA's Parker Solar Probe - launching summer 2018 - will travel closer to the sun than any spacecraft yet. NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said, "This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before".

In order to publicize their mission to send your name to the Sun, NASA hired William Shatner - renowned for his role as Captain James Kirk on Star Trek - as a celebrity endorser for the mission.




Once launched this summer from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the probe will eventually come within 4 million miles of our star, closer than any other spacecraft. Since our Sun is one of the important reasons behind the existence of life in this universe, scientists have been waiting over more than six decades to know the star from upfront.

NASA said that "understanding the Sun has always been a top priority for space scientists". It will also delve into what accelerates the solar wind and solar energetic particles. The rocket speed is so quick, at its nearest approach it will go at roughly 430,000 miles per hour.

To protect the spacecraft from the Sun's heat, scientists will cover it with a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield, which is expected to survive temperatures outside the spacecraft that can reach almost 2,500 degree Fahrenheit or over 1,371 degree Celsius. "This unfathomable rocket will uncover such a great amount about our star and how it functions that we've not possessed the capacity to get it". For this situation, given Parker's achievements inside the field, and how firmly adjusted this mission is with his examination, the choice was made to respect him before dispatch, keeping in mind the end goal to attract consideration regarding his critical commitments to heliophysics and space science. Most recently, the space agency has accepted names to be carried on microchips on its InSight lander, which is headed for Mars later this year. Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, is the mission project scientist. APL is planning and building the shuttle and will likewise work it.

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