We just got one step closer to “touching” the sun.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, a NASA rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe was successfully launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station — marking the beginning of a seven-year mission that aims to get the probe closer to the sun than any human-made object has gone before.
The car-sized probe was launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket at 3:31 a.m. Eastern on Sunday after an initial launch attempt on Saturday was scrubbed because of a last-minute technical glitch.
NASA says the probe will travel directly into the sun’s atmosphere over the course of its mission and will get to within about four million miles of the star’s surface.
The spacecraft will face heat and radiation “like no spacecraft before it,” the agency said. The probe’s 4.5-inch-thick, 8-foot-wide carbon-composite shield has been built to endure temperatures of nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. see more