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Recently, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its 16th close approach to the Sun.
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its 16th orbit around the Sun, which included a close approach to the Sun on June 22, 2023.
- During the close approach, Parker came within 8.5 million kilometers of the Sun’s surface while moving at around 586,782 kilometers per hour.
About Parker Solar Probe
- Launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
- Launch Vehicle: Delta IV-Heavy with Upper Stage.
- Mission by: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
- Size: The spacecraft is about the size of a small car.
- Fields Experiment (FIELDS)
- Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (IS☉IS )
- Wide Field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR)
- Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP)
- It can travel directly through the Sun’s atmosphere.
- Aim: to investigate how energy and heat move across the solar corona, as well as what accelerates the solar wind and solar energetic particles.
- It will journey through the sun’s atmosphere eventually delivering humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.
- Humanity’s first-ever mission that “visited” a star is said to be the Parker Solar Probe.
- A 5-inch thick carbon-composite shield protects the spacecraft and its instruments from the heat of the Sun.
- The shield can withstand temperatures of around 1,777 degrees Celsius.
- Four instrument suites are carried by it, and they are designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind.
- To trace how energy and heat move through the corona.
- To explore what causes the acceleration of solar winds and solar energetic particles.
- Mechanism: The spacecraft uses Venus’s gravity to tighten its orbit around the Sun.
- Future plan: It is now preparing to get within around 7.2 million kilometers of the star’s surface.
Significance of Parker Solar Probe
- Exploring the Universe: The Sun is the only star we can study closely. By studying this star we live with, we learn more about stars throughout the universe.
- Exploring the Sun: The Sun provides light and heat to all living things on Earth. The more we learn about it, the more we can grasp how life evolved on Earth.
- Knowledge of the phenomenon affecting the Earth: It is the source of the solar wind.
- Solar wind: which is a flow of ionized gases from the Sun that travels past the Earth at more than 500 kilometres per second (a million miles per hour).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Parker Solar Probe
The Parker Solar Probe is a NASA spacecraft launched to study the Sun up close. It aims to investigate how energy and heat move through the solar corona, understand what accelerates the solar wind and solar energetic particles, and provide humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.
They launched the Parker Solar Probe from Cape Canaveral in Florida, using a Delta IV-Heavy rocket with an upper stage.
The Parker Solar Probe carries four scientific instrument suites:
Fields Experiment (FIELDS)
Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (IS☉IS)
Wide Field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR)
Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP)
A 5-inch thick carbon-composite shield protects the spacecraft from the heat of the Sun. This shield can withstand temperatures of around 1,777 degrees Celsius.