Sci-tech

NASA's Parker Solar Probe lifts off successfully

NASA's Parker Solar Probe lifts off successfully

The spacecraft - nestled atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy, one of the world's most powerful rockets, with a third stage added - blasted off toward the Sun with a whopping 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars.

Scientists expect the Parker Solar Probe to cover the 89-million-mile distance to the Sun's Corona by November, after using Venus's gravitational pull as a slingshot towards the star in October, Sky News reports.

Parker Solar Probe, NASA's first ever mission to reach sun carries along names of people.

Taken together, the Parker probe - which will also become the fastest man-made object travelling around the Sun at speeds of up to 6,90,000 kmph - represents a giant leap in space science.

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The car-sized spacecraft will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere, about four million miles from its surface - and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before, thanks to its innovative Thermal Protection System.

Nasa's mission to "touch the Sun" is under way following the launch of the Parker Solar Probe early on Sunday morning. The unprecedented sun-skimming probe that lifted off from the U.S. is set to study the "solar winds" proposed in the paper by Dr Eugene Newman Parker, who has now become the first living scientist to have mission named after him. These are fundamental questions about the sun that researchers have been vying to answer ever since solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker first theorized solar wind 60 years ago in 1958.

Parker Solar Probe will revolutionise our understanding of the Sun's corona.

The Parker Solar Probe will fly straight through the wispy edges of the corona, or outer solar atmosphere, that was visible during last August's total solar eclipse.

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"Today's launch was the culmination of six decades of scientific study and millions of hours of effort", said project manager Andy Driesman, from the APL.

Parker will slingshot around Venus multiple times in order to gain momentum and with each orbit, it will gradually move closer and closer to the sun.

A Solar Probe Cup created to measure and assess the solar wind will not be behind the shield, but it is made of titanium-zirconium-molybdenum with a melting point of about 4,260 Fahrenheit. The sun's corona itself has remained a mystery for scientists as temperatures run far hotter here than at the suns surface which shouldn't make sense. It will study temperatures and the flow of solar wind. "The science will be remarkable". NASA needed the mighty 23-story rocket, plus a third stage, to get the diminutive Parker probe, the size of a small auto and well under a ton, racing toward the sun. And the probe is, of course, equipped with heat shields. As NASA notes, this marks its first mission named for a living person.

Over 450 people hurt in Romania anti-corruption protest clashes
In Bucharest , some protesters attempted to force their way through security lines guarding the government building. State Department criticized the proposed changes to judicial legislation, saying they could derail the rule of law.


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