The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Friday began counting down to the launch of a $1.5 billion spacecraft that aims to plunge into the Sun’s sizzling atmosphere and become humanity’s first mission to explore a star.
The car-sized Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to blast off on a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida early Saturday.
NASA said The 65-minute launch window opens at 3:33 am (0733 GMT), and the weather forecast is 70 percent favorable for takeoff,.
By coming closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history, the probe’s main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around Sun.
Not only is the corona about 300 times hotter than the Sun’s surface, it also hurls powerful plasma and energetic particles that can unleash geomagnetic space storms, wreaking havoc on Earth by disrupting the power grid.
But these solar outbursts are poorly understood.