Washington: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP), which is humanity’s first mission to the Sun, has cleared the final procedures ahead of its launch on August 11. “NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has cleared the final procedures in the clean room before its move to the launch pad, where it will be integrated onto its launch vehicle, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy,” the space agency said on Thursday.
The mission termed as historic “will revolutionise our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds”, the agency added. The PSP will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.
In addition to using the largest operational launch vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, the PSP will use a third stage rocket to gain the speed needed to reach the Sun, which takes 55 times more energy than reaching Mars. It will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere, about 4 million miles from its surface and over seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.