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August 6-12, 2018 / Vol 37, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA

3 Aug 2018, 19:45 UTC
August 6-12, 2018 / Vol 37, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Parker Solar Probe Set to Launch Aug 11 to Investigate Sun Outer Corona

The NASA Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is scheduled to launch during an 8-day window opening August 11 on United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy from SLC 37 Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida ~03:48 EDT. The 555-kg craft is equipped with a 11.4-cm thick reinforced carbon–carbon composite solar shield designed to withstand external temperatures reaching 1,377° C. It will come within 8.5 solar radii (6 million km) of the ‘surface’ of the Sun with its 5 major experiments to collect data on coronal magnetic field, dusty plasma, flow and acceleration of solar wind, and determine transport and acceleration of energetic particles – to potentially improve space-weather event forecasting. The US$1.5B mission plans 7 gravity assists at Venus over 7 years to incrementally decrease its orbital perihelion to achieve at least 26 passes of the Sun. PSP will achieve a velocity of up to 200 km/s as it passes around the Sun, which will temporarily make it the fastest human-made object. PSP is named after (L-R) Astrophysicist Eugene Parker for his theories on supersonic solar wind and the shape of the outer solar system solar magnetic field. The 5 Instrument ...

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