Technology NASA named its solar probe after this 91-year-old rock star astrophysicist

21:25  04 august  2018
21:25  04 august  2018 Source:   cbsnews.com

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Set to Launch

  NASA's Parker Solar Probe Set to Launch The journey will last about seven years.

The Parker Solar Probe will fly through the sun's outermost atmosphere – the first spacecraft ever to do so. The mission also marks another first in the history of U.S. space exploration: the spacecraft is named after a living person. CBS News' Barry Petersen visited the astrophysicist at the University

Nasa has announced its hotly anticipated mission to send a spacecraft into the sun’s outer atmosphere has a new name . Formerly known as the Solar Probe Plus mission, the endeavour will now be known as the Parker Solar Probe , honouring the American solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker who

NASA is set to launch a unique space mission next week that may revolutionize our understanding of the sun. The Parker Solar Probe will fly through the sun's outermost atmosphere – the first spacecraft ever to do so. 

The mission also marks another first in the history of U.S. space exploration: the spacecraft is named after a living person. CBS News' Barry Petersen visited the astrophysicist at the University of Chicago. 

Red-hot voyage to sun will bring us closer to our star

  Red-hot voyage to sun will bring us closer to our star NASA's Parker Solar Probe will hurtle through the sizzling solar atmosphere and come within just 3.8 million miles of the sun's surface. NASA's Parker Solar Probe will be the first spacecraft to "touch" the sun, hurtling through the sizzling solar atmosphere and coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers) of the surface.

This incredible spacecraft is going to reveal so much about our star and how it works that we’ve not been able to understand. NASA named the spacecraft the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker.

NASA is naming its upcoming mission to “touch the Sun” after Eugene Parker, a prominent astrophysicist who discovered the existence of solar wind — the charged particles that are constantly streaming from our star . The mission, originally named Solar Probe Plus

Eugene Parker's love affair with astrophysics started in high school. After earning his PhD, he headed to the University of Chicago where he started working as a research associate in 1955. Then, in 1958, he proved that the sun sent out supersonic streams of charged particles -- what we now call solar wind -- in addition to heat. It was inspiration followed by two years of mental sweat.   Parker had seen the same clues everyone else saw: Earth's atmosphere bombarded with the solar radiation commonly known as the Northern Lights. He also saw that when comets passed through the solar system, the tails were always away from the sun. 

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: ctm-saturday-clean-feed-20180804-cr470c-0700-0900-02-frame-31992.jpg © Credit: CBSNews ctm-saturday-clean-feed-20180804-cr470c-0700-0900-02-frame-31992.jpg

Parker suspected it was solar wind that blew them outward. But when he went to publish his formula, he was not met with either scorn or acclaim.

NASA explains why its mission to 'touch' the sun is basically insane

  NASA explains why its mission to 'touch' the sun is basically insane <p>NASA's Parker Solar Probe is launching this weekend on Aug. 11. Its destination: the sun.</p>In fact, NASA stated its goal with the Parker Solar Probe is to "touch" the sun. It's sending a spacecraft "the size of a small car" directly into the sun's atmosphere.

NASA .gov brings you the latest images, videos and news from America's space agency. Get the latest updates on NASA missions, watch NASA TV live, and learn about our quest to reveal the unknown and benefit all humankind.

NASA has renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft — humanity’s first mission to a star , which will launch in 2018 — as the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker.

"They simply declared the whole notion was ridiculous, and if you press them they would say, 'Well, it must be: you must have made a mistake here because you came to a ridiculous conclusion," Parker said. 

But nobody could prove his equation wrong.

Parker visited his namesake as it was being readied for launch. He praised the people who designed it, just as many of them consider him a science superstar. Some have even called him the Brad Pitt of astrophysics. But perhaps in a sign of his dedication to science, Parker said he's not entirely sure who Brad Pitt is. 

The seven-year, $1.5 billion project will measure the supersonic speeds of the solar winds. Because the sun is an ordinary star, whatever we learn about it will apply to the majority of the stars in the galaxy, according to Parker.  

a man wearing glasses: Eugene Parker at the University of Chicago © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Eugene Parker at the University of Chicago

But even a hero astrophysicist who changed the way we see the stars has his limits when it's comes to something closer to his earthly home – like his hometown Chicago Cubs.

"A baseball game is infinitely more complicated and involves factors about which you know nothing. How is this or that pitcher feel on the morning of the last game and so on and so forth," Parker said.   As the solar probe begins its voyage, his lifetime voyage of discovery has not ended.   "I've always enjoyed learning how things work. ... Simply endless puzzles and problems that come to light, some of them trivial, amusing, some of them very important and I take great pleasure in learning them," Parker said.   And because of him, we will learn about our own sun, and that will teach us about almost all the stars that stretch to infinity.

It’s Easier to Leave the Solar System Than to Reach the Sun .
In a very short time, we human beings have seeded our corner of the universe with all kinds of signs of our existence.&nbsp;This last achievement, humanity’s escape from the solar system, was certainly astonishing, a testament to human ingenuity and engineering. But it was much easier than what we’re trying to do next.

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