February 20, 2024 at 5:46 am

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Will “Touch” The Sun For The First Time

by Trisha Leigh

Source: NASA

It’s easy enough to see why scientists back in the 60s chose to visit the moon instead of the sun.

I mean, I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of reasons, but one of them surely was that one of them had a fiery burning surface and the other didn’t.

Now, though, NASA wants us to know they are about to get closer than ever.

They’re sending the Parker Solar Probe past the sun at 435,000 mph. It will get within 3.8 million miles of the surface, and that will make it the closest any human-made object has ever been.

Source: NASA

Project scientist Nour Raouafi wants to make sure we know what a big deal this is.

“We are basically almost landing on a star. This will be a monumental achievement for all humanity. This is the equivalent to the Moon landing of 1969.”

To get so close (and even though 3.8 million miles seems far, it’s not), the Parker Solar Probe will have to survive temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The probe launched in 2018 and has already made several close passes. Sadly, due to the sun’s being made of hydrogen and helium gas, actually landing on it isn’t in the cards.

Source: NASA

When NASA or anyone else refers to the sun’s surface, they mean a “light sphere” that is simply the first layer of the Sun’s atmosphere. This photosphere is 250 miles thick and is around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are hoping that the Parker Solar Probe might get close enough to give us some answers, though.

“As we speed closer and closer to the solar surface, we will learn more about the properties of the Sun itself, but the data will also significantly improve our knowledge of space weather and our ability to live and work in space.”

I feel like if so much awful stuff wasn’t going on down here we might be more into it.

But hey, it’s still pretty cool, right?

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.