Less than three weeks from now, NASA will be launching its most daring mission so far. The Parker Solar Probe, sent to "touch" the sun and give us unprecedented data on the star at the heart of our solar system, will be taking off on its historic voyage on August 6, NASA announced yesterday.
Initially scheduled for August 4, the launch of the pioneering spacecraft has been pushed back two days, to give engineers sufficient time to deal with a few last-minute repairs, the space agency explained.
Among these final modifications, NASA listed the reconfiguration of a cable clamp on the payload fairing (the nose cone used to protect a spacecraft) and a fixed leak in the third stage motor of the rocket that's going to fly the probe into space — a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy.
The spacecraft is set to launch from Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and will begin a three-month journey to the sun, where it will study the solar corona.
The mission will last for seven years and is designed to help us understand "what drives the wide range of particles, energy, and heat that course through the region — flinging particles outward into the solar system and far past Neptune," NASA stated in a separate news release.
Into The Solar Corona
The Parker Solar Probe has great things lying ahead. Its mission is to "revolutionize our understanding of the sun" and, in order to do that, the spacecraft will be flying closer to the sun than any other man-made vehicle before it.