Last week, NASA’s Mission to "Touch the Sun" finally arrives in Florida for the final preparations for its launch to the Sun, scheduled for July 31, 2018.
Parker Solar Probe, how the project is called, is humanity’s first mission to the Sun. After launch, it will orbit directly through the solar atmosphere – the corona – closer to the surface than any human-made object has ever gone. While facing brutal heat and radiation, the mission will reveal fundamental science behind what drives the solar wind, the constant outpouring of material from the Sun that shapes planetary atmospheres and affects space weather near Earth.
The mission, expected to cost $1.5 billion will have the "ship" making 24 passes of the Sun as it orbits. The "kiss" will happen at a distance of 3.9 million miles, which is hot enough to melt steel. Thick carbon shielding will hopefully prevent the experiment from being destroyed while it gathers its data, and hopefully will delivers some neat images at the same time.
For those in Florida that wish to witness the launch, Parker Solar Probe will be launched from Launch Complex-37 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The two-hour launch window opens at approximately 4 a.m. EDT on July 31, 2018, and is repeated each day (at slightly earlier times) through Aug. 19.