Miami: NASA on Sunday said it had launched Parker Solar Probe, the US space agency's historic small car-sized probe, on its seven-year space odyssey that will take it gradually closer to the Sun at 3.8 million miles. The spacecraft, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will transmit its first scientific observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible.
Parker Solar Probe launched on 7-year odyssey
The mission's findings will help researchers improve their forecasts of space weather events, which have the potential to damage satellites and harm astronauts in orbit, disrupt radio communications and, at their most severe, overwhelm power grids. "#ParkerSolarProbe lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3.31 a.m.
"This mission truly marks the humanity's first visit to a star that will have implications not just here on Earth, but how we better understand our universe," Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement. This first flyby will place the Probe in position in early November to fly as close as 15 m miles from the Sun -- within the blazing solar atmosphere, known as the corona -- closer than anything made by humanity has ever gone before.