China's CSRH Will Interact With US Parker Solar Probe

Mindy Sparks
August 16, 2018

The Parker Solar Probe will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun's corona.

Independent Verification and Validation support work for NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP) concluded Sunday with the successful launch of the spacecraft headed to the sun's atmosphere for a historic scientific discovery mission. The spacecraft will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to human's ability to forecast major space-weather events.

Once Parker reaches the corona of the Sun, it will study the Sun's energetic particles. It will fly around the sun in an elliptical orbit and the minimum perihelion - the point in its orbit when it is closest - with the surface of the sun will be about 6.1 million kilometers, much shorter than that of Mercury, which is the planet closest to the white dwarf star at the center of our solar system.

The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system. This area is capable of reaching over 3 million degrees Fahrenheit. He theorized an explanation for the superheated solar atmosphere, the corona, which is-contrary to what was expected by physics laws - hotter than the surface of the Sun itself.

Among other engineering challenges Engility helped to solve, the team inspected guidance, navigation and control software to ensure the probe's unique heat shield is always oriented correctly to protect PSP from extreme radiation and heat near the Sun.

The probe, named after American solar astrophysicist Eugene Newman Parker, will have to survive hard heat and radiation conditions. Only the electric field antennas and a small plasma detector will fearless direct illumination from the Sun.

The Team: The mission is part of NASA's "Living With a Star" program to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. Scientific instrumentation is provided by teams led by the Naval Research Laboratory, Princeton University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of MI.

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