E. Delaney

E. Delaney

Emma Delaney, News Writer

We truly are in an age of express advancement.

This past Sunday, a theory six decades in the making was forged into a reality. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was launched on a seven year journey to orbit twenty-four times closer to the sun than mankind has ever been, and for a twenty-fourth of what it cost to put the first human on the moon.

The man responsible for this stunning feat is none other than astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who hypothesized the existence of solar wind, the continuous effluxion of highly positively charged particles from the sun, gusting, somewhat like dust, over its surface.

The probe is on a course to eventually make it just 3.5 million miles away (the closest we’ve gotten so far is 93 million miles away) from the sun’s blazing surface to study the hottest part of its outer layer, the corona, and the phenomena it holds.

The spacecraft and instruments are equipped with cutting-edge 4.5 inch thick carbon-composite shields to withstand the corona’s staggering million degrees fahrenheit and hazardous solar radiation.

The journey to the sun will be a meticulous one, lasting seven years – one trip around the sun each year. The Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravitational field to orbit closer and closer through the sun’s outer layers, easing its way in.

From there, if everything goes according to plan, we will be close enough to watch the solar winds move from subsonic to supersonic speeds and potentially gain a bounty of brand new information about the star that is the epicenter of our solar system and the sustenance of life on our planet.