NASA Launches Most Expensive Historic Mission To The Sun Using Parker Solar Probe(Photos)

The $1.5billion (£1.17billion) Parker Probe blasted offatop one of the most powerful rockets in the world.

It will eventually hit record-breaking speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour as it completes 24 orbits of the sun over the course of seven years.

At this speed, it would take two minutes to travel from London to New York.

While orbitting the sun, the craft will swing around Venus seven times, using the planet’s gravity to push it closer and closer to our star with each pass; eventually, the Parker probe will get within 3.8 million miles of the sun’s surface.

It will make its first fly past Venus in October, and is protected by a revolutionary new heat shield.

That will set up the first solar encounter in November.

It will be subjected to temperatures of roughly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,371°C) when it comes closer tothe sun than any spacecraft in history but, behind its thick heat shield, it will only feel like a hot summer day, with this sheltered region maxing out at about 85F (29C).

At it’s fastest spacecraft went travels at 119miles per second, pictured taking off

This mission will require 55 times more energy than would be needed to reach Mars, according to NASA.

The probe will rely on a series of gravity assists from Venus to slow down its sideways motion, allowing it to get just 3.8 million miles away from the sun’s surface.

The historic mission will give us the best opportunity yet to study the star that holds up our entire solar system. And, it’s one of the last places within our stellar neighborhood that has yet to be explored.

Roughly 1,400 pounds of solar projection and science equipment are protected by an advanced heat shield, which uses a 4.5-inch thick carbon composite foammaterial between two carbon fiber face sheets.

The probe can be seen above as it was lifted onto the third stage rocket motor. The probe was named after a scientist ‘parker’ who first worked on the idea some decades ago.

See Top Images of Parker Solar Probe

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