'MIND-BLOWING': NASA spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look yet


spaminator
#1
'MIND-BLOWING': NASA spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look yet
Associated Press
Published:
August 12, 2018
Updated:
August 12, 2018 6:55 PM EDT
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Embarking on a mission that scientists have been dreaming of since the Sputnik era, a NASA spacecraft hurtled Sunday toward the sun on a quest to unlock some of its mysteries by getting closer than any object sent before.
If all goes well, the Parker Solar Probe will fly straight through the wispy edges of the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, in November. In the years ahead, it will gradually get within 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometres) of the surface, its instruments protected from the extreme heat and radiation by a revolutionary new carbon heat shield and other high-tech wizardry.
Altogether, the Parker probe will make 24 close approaches to our star during the seven-year, US$1.5-billion journey.
“Wow, here we go. We’re in for some learning over the next several years,” said Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old astrophysicist for whom the spacecraft is named.
It was Parker who accurately theorized 60 years ago the existence of solar wind — the supersonic stream of charged particles blasting off the sun and coursing through space, sometimes wreaking havoc on electrical systems on Earth.
This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.
As Parker and thousands of others watched, a Delta IV Heavy rocket carried the probe aloft, thundering into the clear, star-studded sky on three pillars of fire that lit up the middle-of-the-night darkness.
NASA needed the mighty 23-storey rocket, plus a third stage, to get the Parker probe — the size of a small car and well under a ton — racing toward the sun, 93 million miles (150 million kilometres) from Earth.
A Saturday morning launch attempt was foiled by last-minute technical trouble. But Sunday gave way to complete success.
It was the first rocket launch ever witnessed by Parker, a retired University of Chicago professor. He said it was like looking at photos of the Taj Mahal for years and then beholding the real thing in India.
“I really have to turn from biting my nails in getting it launched, to thinking about all the interesting things which I don’t know yet and which will be made clear, I assume, over the next five or six or seven years,” Parker said on NASA TV.
Among the mysteries scientists hope to solve: Why is the corona hundreds of times hotter than the surface, which is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius)? And why is the sun’s atmosphere continually expanding and accelerating, as Parker theorized in 1958?
“The only way we can do that is to finally go up and touch the sun,” said project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University. “We’ve looked at it. We’ve studied it from missions that are close in, even as close as the planet Mercury. But we have to go there.”
A better understanding of the sun’s life-giving and sometimes violent nature could also enable earthlings to better protect satellites and astronauts in orbit, along with the power grids so vital to today’s technology-dependent society, said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief.
Parker, the probe, will start shattering records this fall. On its very first brush with the sun, it will come within 15.5 million miles (25 million kilometres), easily beating the current record of 27 million miles (43 million kilometres) set by NASA’s Helios 2 spacecraft in 1976.
By the time Parker gets to its 22nd, 23rd and 24th orbits of the sun in 2024 and 2025, it will be even deeper into the corona and travelling at a record 430,000 mph (690,000 kilometres per hour). Nothing from planet Earth has ever gone that fast.
Even Fox has difficulty comprehending the mission’s derring-do.
“To me, it’s still mind-blowing,” she said. “Even I still go, ’Really? We’re doing that?”’
The 8-foot (2.4-metre) heat shield will serve as an umbrella that will shade the spacecraft’s scientific instruments, with on-board sensors adjusting the protective cover as necessary so that nothing gets fried.
A mission to get up close and personal with our star has been on NASA’s books since 1958. The trick was making the spacecraft compact and light enough to travel at incredible speeds and durable enough to withstand the punishing environment.
“We’ve had to wait so long for our technology to catch up with our dreams,” Fox said.
[youtube]bIyJS1b8oEs[/youtube]
http://torontosun.com/technology/wow...osest-look-yet
 
Walter
#2
It will discover that the Sun is hot. Who knew?
 
Curious Cdn
#3
They're trying to find out why the sun's atmosphere is a lot hotter than it's surface. It sounds counterintuitive that it would be but it is.
 
Walter
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

They're trying to find out why the sun's atmosphere is a lot hotter than it's surface. It sounds counterintuitive that it would be but it is.

So they say.
 
Curious Cdn
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

So they say.

Who are "they" and why would they lie about a thing like that?
 
MHz
#6
Return to the moon still too difficult?
 
Curious Cdn
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

Return to the moon still too difficult?

Why?

What's there?
 
MHz
#8
I see more hope in going to the moon than I see the value of jumping into the sun. Lemmings would be doing a collective face-palm and they aren't even on the hook for the bill.

Is the throttle on full to stop it from being pulled apart before its melted?
 
Curious Cdn
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

I see more hope in going to the moon than I see the value of jumping into the sun. Lemmings would be doing a collective face-palm and they aren't even on the hook for the bill.

Is the throttle on full to stop it from being pulled apart before its melted?

Perhaps, the key to domesticating fusion reactions for generating power is to have a better understanding of how the Sun works. We're not quite sure how the Sun works and fusion power is going nowhere fast.
 
MHz
#10
How about a canoe in the middle of the stream with a paddle wheel attached that way your lights stay on when the horizon gets an odd glow and all their lights go out.
If the US wanted cheap clean renewable energy they would put all the windmills in the ocean to catch the Gulf Stream is the east and whatever its called on the west coast. Redesign the prop and waterproof the housing and maintenance is from a couple of super tankers welded together. The rest of the hardware is on the shelf already. There are no storms underwater.
 
Curious Cdn
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

How about a canoe in the middle of the stream with a paddle wheel attached that way your lights stay on when the horizon gets an odd glow and all their lights go out.
If the US wanted cheap clean renewable energy they would put all the windmills in the ocean to catch the Gulf Stream is the east and whatever its called on the west coast. Redesign the prop and waterproof the housing and maintenance is from a couple of super tankers welded together. The rest of the hardware is on the shelf already. There are no storms underwater.

We know it all by now, then? Nothing more to find out?
 
MHz
#12
I'm just for getting the facts right about the things that are closest before we go farther where things are probably even more complex.
With the moon in tidal lock with the earth would you weigh the same everyplace on it?
 
spaminator
#13
there is a theory that there are other planets and moons on the other side of the sun.