NASA to launch Parker Solar Probe to the Sun

NASA announced the launch of the Parker Solar Probe in 2018 to the Sun. The probe will be the first in history to come so close to the scorching planet.
Parker Solar Probe illustration Photo credit: NASA/ Channel 2 News

Today (Wednesday), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it will launch the Parker Solar Probe to the Sun next year. This is the first time in history that mankind will send a spacecraft so close to the scorching planet.

The probe is named after astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who was the first to discover the phenomenon of solar wind approximately 60 years ago. Before Parker's groundbreaking discovery, scientists believed there was empty space between the planets. Only a few years later, satellites observed the phenomenon for the first time and gave scientific validity to Parker’s theory.

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“This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft for a living individual,” said associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington Thomas Zurbuchen. “It’s a testament to the importance of his body of work, founding a new field of science that also inspired my own research and many important science questions NASA continues to study and further understand every day.”

The launch of the probe is planned for July of 2018. Its main purpose is to study the outer atmosphere of the Sun and hopefully learn new information about our solar system.



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