As reported by Reuters and AFP on Monday (08/13/2018), a space vehicle called Parker Solar Probe is designed to be able to withstand the super-hot temperatures of the Sun from close range. He will make close observations of the solar corona to study the outer atmosphere of the Sun that triggers a solar wind.
The Parker Solar Probe, the size of this small car, was launched with a large rocket called Delta IV-Heavy from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA on Sunday (12/8) at around 3.30 local time. The mission undertaken by Parker Solar Probe will last for the next seven years. This space vehicle flies at a speed of 692 thousand kilometers per hour.
“This mission really marks the first humanitarian visit to a star,” said Associate Administrator of the Directorate of Scientific Mission at NASA, Thomas Zurbuchen. “We have achieved something that a few decades ago, considered as science fiction,” he added.
NASA’s space vehicle will fly to near the Sun’s corona at a distance of 3.8 million miles or 6.1 million kilometers from the surface of the Sun. The distance was recorded seven times closer than other spacecraft that carried out similar missions.
The Korona of the Sun triggers the name solar wind, which is the flow of charged particles or plasma that spread in all directions from the outer atmosphere of the Sun. The unpredictable solar wind can trigger interference in the magnetic field of our planet and can disrupt communication technology on Earth.
The NASA project at a cost of up to US $ 1.5 billion (around Rp. 21.3 trillion) is the first major mission under the NASA program called ‘Living With a Star’. The name Parker Solar Probe comes from the name of an American solar astrophysicist, Eugene Newman Parker.
In this mission, Parker Solar Probes must be able to withstand the usual temperature and wide heat radiation. Spacecraft have been fitted with heat protectors designed to keep the instruments inside them at 29 degrees Celsius, even though the outside of the plane faces temperatures of up to 1,370 degrees Celsius.
The Parker Solar Probe is equipped with instruments designed to take solar wind imagery and study the fields of electricity as well as magnetism, plasma corona and energetic particles. NASA’s goal is to collect data about how the inner part of the corona works is very powerful.
NASA hopes the findings obtained from the spacecraft’s delivery near the Sun will enable scientists to predict changes in the space environment around Earth.