On August 12, 2018 NASA has launched a spacecraft called, Parker Solar Probe to unearth the mysteries about the Sun and its corona. This spacecraft has been named after Eugene Newman Parker, a solar astrophysicist who developed the theory of solar wind in 1950s. NASA has been studying the Sun for the last five decades and finding out the possible ways to explore the Sun and its atmosphere.
In the past, they did not have the technology to protect the spacecraft from the Sun’s extreme heat. But, the recent developments in material science have helped them make a revolutionary heat shield. Parker’s heat shield has eight-foot diameter and thickness of only 4.5 inches. It is made up of carbon composite and can withstand extreme temperatures. The temperature of the heat shield will reach 2500 degree Fahrenheit when the spacecraft will make the closest approach with the Sun at about 6.2 million kilometers. Parker probe will advance our understanding of the hottest star of the solar system and billions of stars like Sun that are scattered across the Milky Way galaxy. It will also help us know the path of energy which accelerates the solar wind and heats the corona. With this, let’s take a read through some of the lesser-known facts about the NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.
1) When will it make the closest contact with the Sun?
In the seven years of this mission, Parker will include seven Venus flybys and with each flyby, its trajectory will shrink. Its path is set in a way that it will rotate around the Sun, Venus, and Mercury by crossing the orbits of Venus and Mercury. It will use Venus’ gravity to decrease its orbital perihelion. It will make the first contact with the Sun on November 5, 2018 at a speed of 95 km/s. Moreover, Parker will make the closest contact with the Sun on December 19, 2024, and at this time it will achieve a velocity of 200km/second due to the gravity of the Sun. But it will slow down again when it will reach its aphelion.
2) What information will it send?
Parker’s entry in the Sun’s atmosphere will be historic and it will unlock many mysteries about the Sun, universe, and how life evolved on earth. It will help scientists to know what drives the heating in the corona and how the Sun produces solar wind and solar flares. All these phenomena have a major impact on the space travel, satellites, and life on the Earth. Parker will gather all the data, but it won’t send it back to Earth during its observations. Because it will mainly focus on gathering all the data it can collect, and after capturing the data, it will then send the information in large batches. All this solar data will help in solving a lot of mysteries, but it will also raise many new questions.
3) The fate of Parker
It took nearly eight years and hard work of hundreds of engineers to build a spacecraft that can handle the extreme heat of the Sun’s atmosphere. Parker’s production cost is around $1.5 billion and this mission will last for 6 years, 11 months. During this time it will make 24 orbits around the Sun. Parker Solar Probe may continue until mid-2025. But, it depends on the consumption of fuel during its journey, as it will use the fuel to twist itself to keep essential instruments safe behind the heat shield.
Scientists theoretically believe that this mission may extend for 10-20 years. Whenever it will run out of fuel, its structure will slowly break and only the heat shield will be left, but it will keep on rotating in the Sun’s orbit. Moreover, that carbon disk will always be there until the end of the solar system.
These were the three interesting facts about the NASA’s Parker Solar Probe that will help you garner the information from its journey to its fate. In case you are facing trouble in writing your assignments, seek our assistance. We have provided our best assignment help in Australia at nominal price. Our expert team of academic writers, editors, and proofreaders will prepare your document as per the norms, so that you can achieve top grades in your academics.