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NASA Solar Probe To "Touch" Sun's Atmosphere

Postby sunnyd » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:19 am

Story :

A NASA spacecraft being readied for launch in 2018 will make repeated trips through the sun's outer atmosphere, passing within 4 million miles of the star's blazing surface at more than 430,000 mph to shed light on what powers the sun's high-temperature corona, the origins of the solar wind and the causes of potentially catastrophic solar storms.

The Parker Solar Probe was officially renamed Wednesday in honor of Eugene Parker, the University of Chicago astrophysicist whose landmark 1958 paper predicted the existence of the million-mile-per-hour solar wind and its widespread influence across the solar system. It is the first NASA spacecraft to be named after a living individual.

"NASA has never named a spacecraft after a researcher during their lifetime," Thomas Zurbuchen, chief of science operations at NASA, said during a ceremony at the University of Chicago. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're about to make history. It is my great honor, a few days before your 90th birthday, Gene, to announce we're renaming the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft to be known from now on as the Parker Solar Probe."

Parker said he was "greatly honored to be associated with such a heroic scientific space mission."

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