Solar space mission probes secrets of sun's atmosphere

Solar space mission probes secrets of sun's atmosphere

NASA's planned mission to explore the sun was delayed Saturday as the rocket failed to take off during the designated launch window.

Knowing more about the solar wind and space storms will also help protect future deep space explorers as they journey toward the Moon or Mars.

Understanding how the corona works will help scientists anticipate risky space weather storms, which can disrupt the power grid on Earth.

But on the back side of that heat shield, where Parker's four instruments, its flight computer and other critical systems are located, temperatures will be maintained at a relatively cool 85 degrees.

The Parker Solar Probe has been a dream project for the scientists since decades, but the highly advanced technologies like the fault management system, solar array cooling system and the heat shield have been available recently to make this almost impossible mission a reality.

In the lead-up to the launch, NASA collected 1.1 million names from members of the public who wanted to symbolically orbit the sun at close range.

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The Parker Solar Probe was set to launch this morning just before 9am United Kingdom time from Florida's Cape Canaveral, but an alarm raised during the 65-minute weather window could not be resolved before time elapsed.

By better understanding the basic science of solar wind - how the sun's atmospheric particles accelerate and interact - scientists hope to more accurately model larger, more complex solar phenomena, and improve space weather prediction models.

"Wow, here we go". The spacecraft is created to fly through the sun's super-hot outer atmosphere, called the corona, to study the solar wind and sun storms.

NASA has postponed until Sunday the launch of its $1.5 billion unmanned Parker Solar Probe, to allow engineers more time to investigate a red flag that was raised in the last moment before liftoff.

Tools on board will measure high-energy particles associated with flares and coronal mass ejections, as well as the changing magnetic field around the Sun. "We have not been able to answer these questions". "So we're going to plan for a 24-hour turnaround".

A $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe mission will fly through the sun's outer atmosphere within 6.4 million km of the big hot star repeatedly, gathering key insights about solar structure, activity, atmosphere, solar winds and other features. Its water-cooled solar panels will be retracted behind the heat shield during close approach with just the tips exposed to the blazing light - and heat - of the sun. "Again, I would just say don't touch the oven surface, don't touch the three-million-degree plasma!" We've studied it from missions that are close in, even as close as the planet Mercury.

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