NASA's Historic Mission to the Sun Gets a Heat Shield

Space.com | 7/12/2018 | Staff
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NASA engineers are one step closer to understanding the "crown" of the sun.

In photographs of total solar eclipses, the ethereal halo an observer sees is the sun's corona. The word means "crown" in Latin and Spanish, but the beauty of the name masks a scorching reality: 500 kilometers from the sun's visible surface, coronal temperatures can reach a few million degrees.

Solar - Eclipse - Sequence - Miguel - Claro

Great American Solar Eclipse in Sequence from Miguel Claro on Vimeo.

According to NASA officials, engineers added a heat shield eight feet in diameter to the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft on June 27 to keep the instruments at the "relatively comfortable temperature" of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius). The mission is scheduled to launch in August 2018.

Parker - Solar - Probe - Goal - Sun

The Parker Solar Probe's goal is to explore how the sun directly affects life on Earth, according to NASA officials. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory designed, built and and manages the mission, and will also operate it. Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA's Living with a Star Program, which is managed for the Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., according to the agency.

Parker Solar Probe's heat shield, called the Thermal Protection System, is lifted and realigned with the spacecraft's truss as engineers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab prepare to install the 8-foot-diameter heat shield on June 27, 2018.

Object - Sun - Mission - Plans

No human-made object has ever gone as close to the sun as this mission plans...
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