NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to “touch” the sun.
- To trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and
- To explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.
- Determine structure and dynamics of magnetic fields at sources of solar wind.
- Trace flow of energy that heats corona and accelerates solar wind.
- Determine what mechanisms accelerate and transport energetic particles.
- Explore dusty plasma near Sun and its influence on solar wind and energetic particle formation.
Key facts about the probe:
- The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the sun’s atmosphere about 6.2 million miles from our star’s surface.
- It is scheduled for launch in 2018 to explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere.
- The probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the Sun.
- The Parker Solar Probe will perform its scientific investigations in a hazardous region of intense heat and solar radiation.
- The primary power for mission is dual system of solar panels (photovoltaic array). Secondary source consists of much smaller secondary array power that uses pumped-fluid cooling to maintain operating temperature