NASA launches world's first mission to 'touch' the Sun

Aug 13, 2018, 08:20 IST | Agencies

The mission is the first to be named after a living scientist - Eugene N Parker, 91, who first predicted the existence of the solar wind in 1958

NASA launches world's first mission to 'touch' the Sun
Lift-off took place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Pic/AP

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, mankind's first mission to 'touch' the Sun, was successfully launched yesterday on an unprecedented, seven-year journey to unlock the mysteries of the star's fiery outer atmosphere and its effects on space weather. Lift-off took place from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3.31 am EDT (1.01 pm IST).

"The spacecraft is in good health and operating on its own. Parker Solar Probe has begun its mission to 'touch' the Sun," NASA said in a blog post, hours after the lift-off. The mission is the first to be named after a living scientist — Eugene N Parker, 91, who first predicted the existence of the solar wind in 1958.

A plaque dedicating the mission to Parker was attached to the spacecraft in May. It includes a quote from the physicist: "Let's see what lies ahead." It also holds a memory card containing more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public to travel with the spacecraft to the Sun. The mission's findings will help researchers to improve their forecasts of space weather events, NASA said.

USD 1.5bn
Cost of the mission

7
Duration of the mission in years

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