Washington: NASA is all set to launch its historic small car-size probe to “touch the Sun” from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3.33 am EDT (1 pm India time) today. The probe is named after Eugene Parker, a solar physicist who in 1958 first predicted the existence of the solar wind, the stream of charged particles and magnetic fields that flow continuously from the Sun. The launch of the Parker Solar Probe will set it on a journey all the way to the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona — closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history, NASA said in a statement. “Launch teams are working on technical issues and weather is predicted to be 70 percent chance of favorable conditions,” NASA said in a tweet late on Thursday.
Nestled atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy — one of the world’s most powerful rockets — with a third stage added, Parker Solar Probe will blast off toward the Sun with a whopping 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars. Zooming through space in a highly elliptical orbit, Parker Solar Probe will reach speeds up to 692,018 km per hour, setting the record for the fastest spacecraft in history. (IANS)