NASA to launch world's first mission to Sun in 2018

Alain Brian
Juin 2, 2017

NASA's Solar Probe Plus spacecraft, which will embark on the world's first mission to a star in 2018, has been christened the Parker Solar Probe in honor of MSU alumnus Eugene Parker.

The Parker Solar Probe will launch in 2018 as part of a mission to probe the outer corona of the Sun.

"Parker Solar Probe is going to answer questions about solar physics that we've puzzled over for more than six decades", said Nicola Fox, of Johns Hopkins University, one of the scientists involved in the project.

"And we're very proud to be able to carry Gene's name with us on this wonderful voyage of discovery".

The spacecraft will be subjected to extreme heat and radiation from the corona, where temperatures are almost 1,377C (2,500F).

The Parker Solar Probe has been named in honour of pioneering astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the existence of the solar wind almost 60 years ago, the U.S. space agency announced yesterday.

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"The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before", said Parker, Professor at the University of Chicago in the US. "It's very exciting that we'll finally get a look".

"One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what's going on in the solar wind". I am sure that there will be some surprises. It won't make it to our star's surface, since there isn't one, but the probe will be created to get within 3.8 million miles of the sun.

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