Tuesday 13 November 2018

Nasa spacecraft heads to sun for closest look yet

Protected by a revolutionary new heat shield, the spacecraft will fly past Venus in October.

A Delta IV rocket, carrying the Parker Solar Probe, lifts off (John Raoux/AP)
A Delta IV rocket, carrying the Parker Solar Probe, lifts off (John Raoux/AP)

By Marcia Dunn, Associated Press

Nasa has launched a spacecraft to the sun that will fly closer to our star than anything ever sent before.

The Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early on Sunday.

It is on an unprecedented quest that will take it straight through the edges of the corona, or outer solar atmosphere, just 3.8 million miles from the sun’s surface.

Protected by a revolutionary new heat shield, the spacecraft will fly past Venus in October.

That will set up the first solar encounter in November.

Altogether, it will make 24 close approaches over the next seven years.

Thousands of spectators jammed the launch site, including 91-year-old astrophysicist Eugene Parker after whom the spacecraft is named.

He proposed the existence of the solar wind 60 years ago.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News