NASA just built the fastest man-made object ever

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 10, 2018

At 3:33 a.m. EDT, the Parker Solar Probe will launch from Space Launch Complex 37 on Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA is close to launching a spacecraft on a voyage to the sun that will give scientists their closest-ever view of the star.

On Saturday, the space agency's Parker Solar Probe is expected to launch to orbit, beginning its long and winding journey that will eventually allow humanity to touch our nearest star for the first time.

Its mission is to help scientists unlock the mysteries of the sun's atmosphere and answer questions like why its corona, the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere, is hotter than its surface. It is expected to approach the sun in 2024.

The probe will travel at 430,000 miles an hour, faster than any spacecraft in history, and use Venus's gravity over the course of seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.

The spacecraft will orbit the sun 24 times - sampling the solar wind and providing close-up observations - while enduring temperatures of 1,377C (2510F). Its first close solar approach will be on 5 November.

The craft comes equipped with a thick shield made of carbon composite foam and carbon fiber. The goal is to collect data and images on the sun's atmosphere, called the "corona", Engadget reports.

Nasa says the TPS has been tested to withstand up to 1,650C temperatures and "can handle any heat the sun can send its way". The probe will contain four instrument packages created to, among other things, trace the movement of energy and heat within the corona and help scientists figure out what accelerates solar energetic particles and solar wind.

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