Nasa probe blasts off to the Sun after 60-year project

Nasa probe blasts off to the Sun after 60-year project

Instead, it will fly into the sun's atmosphere, where it will observe from a "safe distance" of approximately four million miles away from the star's surface - protected by a "cutting-edge heat shield".

The launch of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the spacecraft was scrubbed on Saturday due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold.

The Parker Solar Probe is now racing through space on a path that will eventually bring it within 4 million miles of the sun's surface.

Parker Solar Probe, which is expected to complete 24 orbits of the Sun, will use Venus to adjust its course.

The unmanned spacecraft's mission is to get closer than any human-made object ever to the center of our solar system, plunging into the Sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, during a seven-year mission.

It is the first space craft to be named after a living person - astrophysicist Eugene Parker, 91, who first described solar wind in 1958.

PSP is the only NASA mission, scientific probe to study the sun's corona and solar wind.

NASA launched its Parker Solar Probe at 3:31 a.m.

England v India: second Test, day two
Pope's wicket left the hosts on 77 for three, with two experience batsmen at the crease in Root and Jonny Bairstow. However, the other batsmen offered little to no resistance and James Anderson ended up with figures of 5/20.

With this first-of-its-kind stellar mission, scientists hope to unlock the many mysteries of the sun, a commonplace yellow dwarf star around 4.5 billion years old.

"Fly baby girl, fly!" project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University tweeted just before lift-off, urging it to "go touch the sun!"

Parker Solar Probe will explore the corona, a region of the Sun only seen from Earth when the Moon blocks out the Sun's bright face during total solar eclipses. "We are in for some learning over the next several years", Parker told NASA television. That will be seven times closer than previous spacecraft.

However the technology to make the spacecraft small and light enough to travel at incredible speeds - while surviving the sun's punishing environment and the extreme changes in temperature - are only now possible. "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".

NASA's science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, was thrilled not only with the launch, but Parker's presence.

It took one of the most powerful rockets in the world to get the mission moving - not because the probe is large or heavy, but because of the speed required to cruise through the solar system. That's nearly 10 times closer than Mercury gets, and seven times closer than any previous probe.

He added: "It's a whole new phase and it's gonna be fascinating throughout.and we're just waiting for the data now so the experts can get busy because there's a lot of data will be coming in". As you might guess, NASA is relying on automation to make this work.

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