Cosmos & Outer Space

NASA Smashed The Record For Fastest Human Made Project : Parker Solar Probe Mission

Parker Solar Probe , Nasa’s robotic spacecraft mission which was announced within a project in the fiscal 2009 budget year has just done something which is quite appreciable and great to achieve.

Here is what you have to know that NASA’s Parker Solar Probe just smashed the record for fastest human-made object – but it’s just getting started on a series of feats that defy comprehension.

On Monday night around 10:28 p.m. ET, the probe fly around the sun while traveling at a speed of about 213,200 mph. That’s far faster than the prior speed record held by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which zooms past the cloud tops of Jupiter at 130,000 mph once every two months.

While the car-size Parker Solar Probe is breaking the speed record, it’s also surviving some of the solar system’s harshest conditions. Right now, it’s screaming through the diffuse outer atmosphere of the sun, which is about 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA launched the robot in August aboard a powerful rocket – the start of a seven-year, $1.5 billion mission to decrypt some of the sun’s greatest mysteries.

The Parker Solar Probe is expected to easily survive its first solar flyby, though operators won’t know until later this week whether anything went wrong.

“For several days around the November 5 perihelion, Parker Solar Probe will be completely out of contact with Earth because of interference from the sun’s overwhelming radio emissions,” the space agency said in a press release.

This orbit will bring the spacecraft within about 15 million miles of the sun’s surface. That’s about six times as close as Earth is to the sun. However, this perihelion – the term for the closest point to the sun during a given orbit – is only the first of the Parker probe’s 24 death-defying solar encounters.

Parker Solar Probe Store

Over the next seven years, each of the robot’s orbits will get closer and closer to the sun. During each of these passes, its speed relative to the star will increase, as will the hellish conditions it must survive.

The Parker Solar Probe’s perihelion in December 2024 (about 21 orbits from now) will accelerate it to nearly 430,000 mph and get it within 4 million miles of the sun. That’s close enough to study the star’s mysterious atmosphere, solar wind, and other properties.

The mission is to crack two 60-year-old mysteries: why the sun has a solar wind, and how the corona – the star’s outer atmosphere – can heat up to millions of degrees. That’s about 100 times hotter than the sun’s surface, which has a temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“That defies the laws of nature. It’s like water rolling uphill,” Nicola Fox, a solar physicist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said during a NASA press briefing in 2017. “Until you actually go there and touch the sun, you can’t answer these questions.”

Both the solar wind and corona are key to understanding solar storms, which can overwhelm electrical grids on Earth, harm our satellites, disrupt electronics, and possibly lead to trillions of dollars’ worth of damage. Data collected by the probe’s sensors might help space-weather forecasters better predict potentially devastating, violent solar outbursts.

Over the next seven years, each of the robot’s orbits will get closer and closer to the sun. During each of these passes, its speed relative to the star will increase, as will the hellish conditions it must survive.

The Parker Solar Probe’s perihelion in December 2024 (about 21 orbits from now) will accelerate it to nearly 430,000 mph and get it within 4 million miles of the sun. That’s close enough to study the star’s mysterious atmosphere, solar wind, and other properties.

The mission is to crack two 60-year-old mysteries: why the sun has a solar wind, and how the corona – the star’s outer atmosphere – can heat up to millions of degrees. That’s about 100 times hotter than the sun’s surface, which has a temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“That defies the laws of nature. It’s like water rolling uphill,” Nicola Fox, a solar physicist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said during a NASA press briefing in 2017. “Until you actually go there and touch the sun, you can’t answer these questions.”

Both the solar wind and corona are key to understanding solar storms, which can overwhelm electrical grids on Earth, harm our satellites, disrupt electronics, and possibly lead to trillions of dollars’ worth of damage. Data collected by the probe’s sensors might help space-weather forecasters better predict potentially devastating, violent solar outbursts.

But the space agency added that the spacecraft’s high-tech heat shield is the reason its temperature is so stable.

The shield, called the Thermal Protection System, always faces the sun and blocks its light. It also protects the probe and its sensors from a solar wind of charged, high-energy particles that can mess with electronics.

The 8-foot-wide shield is made of 4.5 inches of carbon foam that’s sandwiched between two sheets of carbon composites. That allows it to absorb and deflect solar energy that might otherwise fry the probe. A water cooling system will also help prevent the spacecraft’s solar panels from roasting and keep the Parker probe at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Already, the surface of the heat shield has reached a temperature of about 820 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s only expected to get hotter as the probe continues its mission.

During the most harrowing segment of its journey, NASA’s probe must withstand sunlight 3,000 times stronger than occurs at Earth.

Operational History

  • Launch occurred on August 12, 2018, at 3:31 a.m. EDT, 7:31 a.m. GMT. The spacecraft operated nominally after launching. During its first week in space it deployed its high-gain antenna, magnetometer boom, and its electric field antennas. The spacecraft performed its first scheduled trajectory correction on 20 August 2018, while it was 5.5 million miles from Earth, and travelling at 63,569 km/h (39,500 mph).
  • Instrument activation and testing began in early September 2018. On September 9, the two WISPR telescopic cameras performed a successful first-light test, transmitting wide-angle images of the background sky towards the galactic center.
  • The probe successfully performed the first of the seven planned Venus flybys on October 3, 2018, where it came within about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of Venus in order to reduce the probe’s speed and orbit closer to the Sun.
  • The first scientific observations are due to be transmitted in December 2018.

SOURCE – BusinessInsider

Tags
Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close