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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe

You must have read the news about NASA’s Parker Solar Probe entering Sun’s atmosphere few days back. We believe that anything that approaches Sun and entering its atmosphere will get burned due to the extremely high temperature of the Sun. But then, how was it possible? Read more about it here.

According to NASA, the Parker Solar Probe entered the Sun’s upper atmosphere – the Corona – on April 28, 2021. This region is about 13 million km above the Solar Photosphere. It is a Magnetized Atmosphere and have high temperature and strong magnetic fields.

Parker Solar Probe

The Parker Solar Probe was launched in August 12, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe will be used for exploring the mysteries of the Sun by traveling closer to it than any other spacecraft so far. The probe has finally arrived three years after the launch. It uses Venus’s Gravity during the seven flybys over about seven years, bringing its orbit closer to the Sun. The probe employs a combination of in Situ Measurements and Imaging to revolutionize the understanding of the Sun’s Corona. It also aims to expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the Solar Wind.

The Parker Solar Probe is the first NASA Spacecraft named after a living person, honoring the Physicist Eugene Newman Parker, Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. The Spacecraft is designed and built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Technical Design

The Launch mass of the Spacecraft was 685 kg with a Dry mass of 555 kg and Payload mass of 50 kg. It has a dimension of 1.0 m × 3.0 m × 2.3 m. The Spacecraft’s systems are protected from the extreme heat and radiation near the Sun by a Solar Shield. The Solar Shield is made of reinforced carbon-carbon composite, which is designed to withstand temperatures outside the Spacecraft of about 1370 degree Celsius. A White reflective Alumina Surface layer minimizes the absorption. The Spacecraft’s systems and scientific instruments are located in the central portion of the shield’s shadow where direct radiation from the Sun is fully blocked.

Read more about the Parker Solar Probe here

Sci-News has reported on 15 Dec 2021, about the Parker Solar Probe entering Sun’s atmosphere in their article. Read the full article here.

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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