At 3:31AM EST on Sunday morning in Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA embarked on a historic mission. The Parker Solar Probe was launched on top of United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket with the goal of uncovering the Sun’s secrets. At speeds of 430,000 miles per hour, it is the world’s fastest manmade object. The Parker Solar Probe will also be the first manmade object to get as close as 4 Million miles away from the Sun, in an area known as the corona. The Sun’s atmosphere gets as hot as 3 Million degrees Fahrenheit, which is oddly 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun itself. Scientists and researchers anticipate the probe to reveal information about solar energy and solar wind.
The mission was first proposed in the 90’s so it took over two decades of planning and was made possible by ground breaking technology from thermal engineering that allows the probe to survive the intense heat in the Sun’s atmosphere. The possibility of solar winds was first proposed by Dr. Eugene Parker in 1958, and he was there on Sunday to watch his namesake probe launched into space. When asked about his feelings of the Parker Solar Probe mission, he said “All I can say is 'Wow, here we go, we're in for some learning over the next several years.'” The Parker Solar Probe will fly through the Sun’s corona for the next seven years and constantly relay data back to NASA.