The Parker Solar probe is a spaceship that is being built to read and study the atmosphere of the Sun and send signals about new information about how the energy is being circulated. It can tolerate and endure the heat and radiation around the Sun so that it can get as close as possible to orbit the sun a number of times taking readings about the Sun’s corona and learning new information about the Solar Wind.
The Solar Probe was first designed in the 1990s and had had many names across the years, such as Solar Probe Plus or Solar Probe+ (2010) before it was named after an Astrophysicist (Eugene Parker) in 2017. This is the first time ever that a NASA project will be named after a person. The project was announced in 2009 and was being built in Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. It was previously scheduled to be launched in 2015, but for some technical reasons, the launch date has been shifted to a time between July 31, 2018 and August 20, 2018.
The spaceship is meant to travel from earth to the Sun, spending an estimated time of Six years, three hundred and Twenty-One days before it gets to the surface of the Sun; traveling at 200 kilometers per second with supersonic speed. It will orbit the Sun 24 times at a distance as close as 6.4 million kilometers (4 million miles) to the surface of the sun. The question must have popped up that; if spaceships cannot survive the surface of Venus, not to talk of Mercury, how is the Parker Solar Probe expected to reach the surface of the Sun? The Parker Solar Probe which has Six hundred and eighty-five (685) kilograms in launch mass, is especially built to survive the radiation of the sun. The solar shield is hexagonal in shape and is built to resist the heat of the sun, specifically protecting the part of the spaceship that faces the sun during the travel.
The spaceship is being prepared in a simulator that simulates the atmosphere of the space with the calculated radiation and all other expected features. It is said that the atmosphere of the Sun is 520 times hottest than the hottest point of the sun that can be felt on the Earth. The Spacecraft is in NASA’s Goddard Spacecraft center where is it undergoing some tests before it’s launch. The test which is scheduled to last for seven weeks started on the 27th of January, 2018. The testing will include a mimicry of all anticipated events around the sun during the mission of the spacecraft. All of this will be carried out in the 40 feet vacuum chamber (officially called Space Environment Simulator) which houses the Spacecraft in NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. After the testing is over with, the spaceship will then be transported to NASA’s base in Florida where it will be finally launched into space and towards the sun to starts its mission.