NASA is preparing to send a probe closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft has ventured, enduring wicked heat while zooming through the solar corona to study this outermost part of the stellar atmosphere that gives rise to the solar wind, Reuters reported.
The Parker Solar Probe, a robotic spacecraft the size of a small car, is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with Aug. 6 targeted as the launch date for the planned seven-year mission. It is set to fly into the Sun's corona within 3.8 million miles (6.1 million km) from the solar surface, seven times closer than any other spacecraft.
"To send a probe where you haven't been before is ambitious. To send it into such brutal conditions is highly ambitious," Reuters quoted Nicola Fox, a project scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, as saying during a news conference on Friday.
The previous closest pass to the Sun was by a probe called Helios 2, which in 1976 came within 27 million miles (43 million km). By way of comparison, the average distance from the Sun for Earth is 93 million miles (150 million km).
The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system.
In a related matter, admirers of Neil Armstrong and space exploration have a chance to own artifacts and mementos that belonged to the modest man who became a global hero by becoming the first human to walk on the moon.
The personal collection of Armstrong, who died in his native Ohio in 2012, will be offered for sale in a series of auctions handled by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, beginning Nov. 1-2 and continuing in May and November 2019.
The collection includes a variety of artifacts from Armstrong's 1969 lunar landing and private mementos that include pieces of a wing and propeller from the 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer that the astronaut took with him to the moon.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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