NASA is giving out “hot tickets” for this summer’s mission to the Sun, which will grant your name a “seat” on the Parker Solar Probe, the U.S. space agency announced last week.
The space agency is inviting the public along on this historic journey to the Sun, by giving people around the world the chance to send their names up there on the famous spacecraft, the first one to be named after a living scientist — astrophysicist Eugene Parker from the University of Chicago, Illinois.
All you must do to get your hands on a coveted “hot ticket” to the Sun is to submit your name on the Parker Solar Probe website. This will ensure that your name gets placed on a memory card that will hitch a ride aboard the spacecraft as it ventures into the Sun’s atmosphere.
Anyone who’s interested in joining — albeit in name only — this intrepid first expedition to the Sun has until April 27 to submit their application and receive their “hot ticket” to the hottest event of the summer.
NASA has even enlisted actor William Shatner, star of the legendary Star Trek series, to appear in a promotional video and extend the viewers an open invitation to embark on mankind’s first journey to the Sun.
In the video, Shatner entices the audience to join in on “this voyage of extreme exploration” by revealing that his name will also make the historic journey aboard the Parker Solar Probe.
This ingenious campaign grants anyone the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their name travel closer to the Sun than ever before. The highly anticipated Parker Solar Probe mission will take the small, car-sized spacecraft — and your name along with it — as close as 4 million miles from the Sun’s surface.
“This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before,” says Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
People are enthralled by the prospect of having their names associated with this first expedition to the Sun and have already taken to social media to post images of their newly-received “hot tickets.”
This daring venture is meant to scope “Earth’s most important and life-sustaining star” and help scientists understand how its changing conditions can affect Earth, as well as the other planets in our solar system.
The Parker Solar Probe is bound for the Sun’s atmosphere and will take a close look at the solar corona, to understand more about how energy and heat move through it. At the same time, the mission aims to gather important data on solar wind and solar energetic particles, notes the NASA news release.
According to the Parker Solar Probe website, the spacecraft will launch on July 31 and will follow an “innovative route” to get to where it’s going. This new approach entails seven Venus flybys over the course of nearly seven years, which will allow the spacecraft to gradually close in its orbit around the Sun.
Along with the microchip containing all the submitted names, flying aboard the spacecraft will be four instrument suites tasked with imaging solar winds, as well as studying magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, NASA informs.
“This mission will answer questions scientists have sought to uncover for more than six decades,” Zurbuchen points out in the news release.