Stunning images show an artist impression of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, the spacecraft that will fly through the Suns corona to trace how energy and heat move through the stars atmosphere.
After the Parker Solar Probe blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 11, 2018, it will become the first spacecraft ever to fly through the Sun’s scorching atmosphere, known as the corona.
The mission will revolutionise our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
It will fly close enough to the Sun to watch the solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic, and it will fly though the birthplace of the highest-energy solar particles.
The spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun’s heat by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 1,377 C.
The Parker Solar Probe will carry four instrument suites designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind.