NASA & # 39; s Parker Solar Probe satellite is well on track to reach its mission objectives, as it is currently on its way to the planet Venus, according to a new statement from the US government-run space agency. The probe is expected to reach Venus by October 3, and will use the gravity of the planet to catapult to the sun, its final destination. The Parker Solar Probe will come from the sun within 24.1 million kilometers, considerably closer than the distance of 43.4 million kilometers achieved by the Helios 2 mission in 1976.
The probe is named after the American physicist Eugene Parker, whose early theory of solar winds – supersonic particles shot from the sun in all directions – was confirmed by the first space missions after the Second World War. Parker, now 91 years old, traveled to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to attend the launch of his namesake satellite. The mission, which requires $ 1.5 billion, is intended to study the sun and send scientific data back to earth about its findings.
The total length of the mission will be about six years, because the probe comes closest to it six years after its launch. The probe will be as close as 6.2 million kilometers from the sun, and is suitably armored to withstand the high temperatures because it is so close to the star. Interestingly, the Parker Solar Probe carries the names of 1.1 million people on a memory card mounted on a satellite plaque, along with images of Eugene Parker and a copy of his research article from 1958 that highlights aspects of solar physics. predicts.
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As with other scientific space missions, the Parker Solar Probe will be considered a successful mission once it reaches its basic objectives within six years. The probe works as planned and is on track to achieve these mission objectives, NASA said. Once these objectives are achieved, the probe will continue to operate on extended parameters and transmit data as long as they remain operational and are able to communicate with mission control on Earth.