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Reach out and touch the sun

On August 11, NASA is planning to launch the Parker Solar Probe which is expected to fly closer to the sun than any spacecraft built by humans.

Roughly the size of a car, Parker will be humankind’s first spacecraft to fly into the low solar corona and will have to cope with temperatures of almost 2,500 degrees F (1,377 degrees C), flying at around 430,000 miles per hour (125 miles per second). Thanks to an 11cm thick carbon-composite heat shield, however, the internal temperature of the craft should remain at around 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). Parker will explore the structure and dynamics of Sun’s coronal magnetic field and solar winds.

The spacecraft is scheduled to launch on August 11, 2018 although NASA has recently extended the potential launch window to August 23.

Watch the launch live online courtesy of NASA TV.

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