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Technology Eugene Parker, the pioneer behind the 'mission to touch the sun'

02:21  11 august  2018
02:21  11 august  2018 Source:   cnn.com

NASA's mission to touch the sun launches soon

  NASA's mission to touch the sun launches soon Wearing a nearly 5-inch coat of carbon-composite solar shields, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will explore the sun's atmosphere in a mission that is expected to launch in early August. This is NASA's first mission to the sun and its outermost atmosphere, called the corona. "The spacecraft is buttoned up, looking beautiful and ready for flight," Nicola Fox, Parker Solar Probe project scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, said during a NASA press conference Friday. The launch window opens on August 6 between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. EST and ends on August 19.

Eugene Parker , the pioneer behind the ' mission to touch the sun '. The cup will glow red when the probe makes its closest approach to the sun , sampling the solar wind and effectively touching the sun .

To survive that, the probe hunkers down behind a 12cm-thick heat shield that will reach a blistering 1,400C. Nasa's hotly anticipated solar mission renamed to honour astrophysicist Eugene Parker . In the poetic language of the US space agency this is “a mission to touch the sun ”, but in

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera © University of Chicago

"Let's see what lies ahead." That is the message of 91-year-old pioneering astrophysicist Eugene Parker being sent to the sun.

It's a humble, hopeful and scientific message that perfectly embodies Parker, the first living person to have a spacecraft named after him.

On Saturday, the Parker Solar Probe will launch from Florida on a seven-year mission to unlock the mysteries of the sun. It was named in honor of Parker's pioneering work that established a new field of solar research, heliophysics, in the 1950s. Parker will be there in person to watch his namesake spacecraft launch.

NASA named its solar probe after this 91-year-old rock star astrophysicist

  NASA named its solar probe after this 91-year-old rock star astrophysicist The Parker Solar Probe will fly through the sun's outermost atmosphere – the first spacecraft ever to do so . The mission also marks another first in the history of U.S. space exploration: the spacecraft is named after a living person. CBS News' Barry Petersen visited the astrophysicist at the University of Chicago. Eugene Parker's love affair with astrophysics started in high school. After earning his PhD, he headed to the University of Chicago where he started working as a research associate in 1955.

For the first time, a NASA spacecraft will swoop in and touch the sun . The probe is named after Eugene Parker , who first hypothesized that high-speed matter and magnetism constantly escaped the sun , and that it affected the planets and space throughout our solar system.

Eugene Parker honored to be part of 'heroic' NASA solar mission - Продолжительность: 0:49 The University of Chicago 230 просмотров. NASA's newly named Parker Solar Probe to " touch the sun " - Продолжительность: 2:18 CNET 10 854 просмотра.

While Parker was honored by NASA's decision, he's concerned that the hundreds of mission engineers and scientists won't receive the credit they deserve for creating the first "mission to touch the sun."

"From the experience of seeing the probe up close, I understand now the difficult task you are undertaking, and I am sure you will succeed," Parker said when he was able to see the probe for himself last year.

The journey to make this mission possible has taken 60 years, and it's fitting that Parker will get to watch the mission unfold. On board the craft is a chip carrying photos of Parker, his groundbreaking 1958 paper on solar wind and more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public that will be cheering the Parker Solar Probe along.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Set to Launch

  NASA's Parker Solar Probe Set to Launch The journey will last about seven years.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe is the first spacecraft ever named after a living human — but who is Eugene Parker , and what's his connection to the sun ? A NASA Mission to Touch the Sun Launches Saturday! Here's How to Watch. Callisto: Facts About Jupiter's (Not So) Dead Moon.

Eugene Parker , the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics at the University of Chicago, discusses his scientific research on th BREAKING: NASA Sending a Mission to TOUCH the SUN - Продолжительность: 4:30 Beyond Science 208 376 просмотров.

The chip is attached to a card that reads, "The Parker Solar Probe mission is dedicated to Dr. Eugene N. Parker whose profound contributions have revolutionized our understanding of the sun and solar wind. 'Let's see what lies ahead.' Gene Parker, July 2017."

A voyage of curiosity

As a child, Parker lived in Buffalo, New York, two blocks from a railroad yard. The trains fascinated him. He began by wanting to know how the steam locomotives worked and how the switch changed tracks, and the questions only continued. His father, an aeronautical engineer at the Consolidated Aircraft Company, would explain things in a way he could understand.

That only stoked the fire of Parker's curiosity.

"I was always fascinated by how things work and learning about them," Parker said.

He did experiments with "tin can" telephones to learn how sound traveled. Parker's family took walks by Niagara Falls that caused Parker to have questions about molecules of water and the limestone of the area. He inherited a microscope from his grandfather and studied microorganisms. The wonders of the world never ceased for him.

NASA explains why its mission to 'touch' the sun is basically insane

  NASA explains why its mission to 'touch' the sun is basically insane NASA's Parker Solar Probe is launching this weekend on Aug. 11. Its destination: the sun.In fact, NASA stated its goal with the Parker Solar Probe is to "touch" the sun. It's sending a spacecraft "the size of a small car" directly into the sun's atmosphere.

NASA managers have cleared the .5 billion Parker Solar Probe for launch early Saturday on a daring mission to " touch the sun ." The spacecraft is named for Eugene Parker , the University of Chicago scientist who first theorized the existence of the solar wind in 1958.

NASA is naming its upcoming mission to " touch the Sun " after Eugene Parker , a prominent astrophysicist We know the basics of how solar wind works, but the processes behind these particle bursts are still not totally understood. That’s what the Parker Solar Probe is going to help us figure out.

But school was a different story, and Parker says he was "not an enthusiastic student" -- at least until high school, when he was introduced to algebra, Euclidean geometry and trigonometry. Their simplistic principles, as opposed to biology or social studies, piqued his interest.

And then senior year, he was introduced to physics. "I realized how fascinated I was," he said.

Parker had the epiphany that physics was the basis for all of his interests over the years, and he quickly realized that he wanted to become a physicist like his grandfather and an uncle at Bell Laboratories.

Parker pursued a bachelor's degree in physics at Michigan State University and then received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1951. He began his teaching career at the University of Utah, but since 1955, Parker has been on the faculty at the University of Chicago and its Fermi Institute. Parker is now the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago.

a man standing in front of a building © University of Chicago

Discovering solar wind

Parker wasn't viewed as a pioneer in 1958. Instead, he battled the old guard for his new ideas to be accepted.

NASA's solar probe cleared for launch on mission to "touch the sun"

  NASA's solar probe cleared for launch on mission to NASA managers have cleared the $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe for launch early Saturday on a daring mission to "touch the sun.The probe's instruments also will map the sun's powerful magnetic field, as well as the torrent of electrically charged particles that are constantly blasted away into space in explosive outbursts, and the mechanism that accelerates those particles to extreme velocities.

Details of the "unprecedented" mission to " touch the sun " came as the agency announced it was naming the spacecraft after renowned astrophysicist Eugene Parker , whose work has revolutionized scientists' understanding of the sun .

On May 31, NASA renamed humanity’s first mission to fly a spacecraft directly into the sun ’s atmosphere in honor of Professor Eugene Parker , a pioneering phy NASA is going to Touch the Sun - Solar Probe Flying Closer Then Ever Before!

The then-30-year-old submitted a paper to the Astrophysical Journal for review before publication. In it, he proposed the concept of solar wind.

Parker realized that the sun had a magnetic field that created astructure in our solar system, populated by plasma and hot particles flying from the sun to the edge of the solar system. He realized that this stream was a flow of gas. "It hit me that it's a solar wind," Parker said.

Solar wind is the flow of charged gases from the sun, present in most of the solar system. It screams past Earth at a million miles per hour, and disturbances can cause disruptive space weather that impacts our planet.

The mathematics to predict the solar wind were simple: four lines of algebra.

But the two esteemed referees reviewing his paper rejected Parker's "radical" idea. There were no errors in his study or his math; at the time, astronomers believed that the space between planets was a vacuum, and they couldn't let go of the old ideas.

"Well, he couldn't find anything wrong with it," Parker said. He remembered thinking, "so it must be pretty good."

Parker went to the editor of the journal, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, an astrophysicist who would be awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics. Chandrasekhar overruled the referees and agreed to publish the paper.

NASA spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look yet

  NASA spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look yet A NASA spacecraft is on its way to the sun. The Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Sunday. It's on an unprecedented quest that will take it straight through the wispy edges of the sun's corona, or outer atmosphere.The Parker Solar Probe will fly straight through the wispy edges of the corona, or outer solar atmosphere, that was visible during last August's total solar eclipse. It eventually will get within 3.8 million (6 million kilometers) of the sun's surface, staying comfortably cool despite the extreme heat and radiation, and allowing scientists to vicariously explore the sun in a way never before possible.

Since the mission was named in his honor last year, NASA has offered Parker special behind - the -scenes access to the spacecraft carrying his name. Pioneering Solar Scientist Eugene Parker Gets His Day in the Sun . A NASA Mission to Touch the Sun Launches Saturday!

(CBS) — NASA managers have cleared the .5 billion Parker Solar Probe for launch early Saturday on a daring mission to “ touch the sun .” Again, I would just say don’t touch the oven surface, don’t touch the three-million-degree plasma!” The spacecraft is named for Eugene Parker , the University

"Many of his colleagues thought he must be wrong, but when [the probe]Mariner 2 was on the trip to Venus in 1962, it revealed that a supersonic wind was always present," said Ed Stone, longtime project scientist for NASA's Voyager mission, who worked across the hall from Parker at the University of Chicago.

Parker's work revolutionized our understanding of the sun and interplanetary space. He was relieved when there was direct proof, because then they could stop arguing and continue to push science forward.

But solar wind is not the only thing credited to Parker. He worked out the dynamics of cosmic rays in the galaxy alongside a few other colleagues, and he discovered the Parker Spiral (the shape of the wind from the sun) and the Parker limit for monopoles, which is about the survival of galactic magnetic fields that places a limit on the flux of magnetic monopoles in the universe.

"I'm proud of the fact that I thought of the solar wind," Parker said. "It was an exercise in pursuing curiosity, which is the main motivation for studying physics from a personal standpoint."

A 60-year journey

Parker is humble when he reflects on his legacy, but perhaps it's because he was surrounded by pioneers of astronomy and astrophysics in the 1950s and 1960s, during the Space Age.

As Angela Olinto, dean of physical science at the University of Chicago, pointed out, Parker was contemporaries with Nobel laureates Chandrasekhar, Enrico Fermi and Arthur Holly Compton. All of these former University of Chicago professors have posthumously had spacecraft named for them, including the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

NASA's mission to 'touch the sun' beams back first images

  NASA's mission to 'touch the sun' beams back first images Sun not included.

NASA has announced its mission to “ touch the sun ” has been renamed after the American solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker — the first time a NASA mission has been named after a living scientist. The mission will now be known as the Parker Solar Probe—honoring Parker and his contribution to

NASA is sending a craft to the sun for the first time, and Wednesday the mission , previously called the Solar Probe Plus mission , was renamed after Eugene N. Parker , the astrophysicist who discovered solar wind. Read: NASA Craft Catches Partial Solar Eclipse As Moon Passes By The Sun .

Olinto has known Parker since the 1990s and said that he's regarded as a celebrity on the University of Chicago campus but has never let the fame go to his head.

"He was not only thinking differently but moving forward," she said. "He was one of these people that could not only have the new idea but really establish a field."

Olinto believes that the probe is just the next step in Parker's long legacy, which began with his bold new ideas in 1958.

"There are very few opportunities for ideas to be tested at a high level in science and know the person who came up with the idea," she said. "It's been 60 years from the beginning, and having that chance to be with him and enjoying it is amazing. Having the originator of the idea with us looking at the same data and launch is really exciting."

Parker is already looking forward to the data that the Parker Solar Probe will provide, hopefully to answer some of our key questions about the sun.

The mission's objectives include "tracing the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the sun's corona and solar wind, determining the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind and explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles."

The first data download from the probe will be in early December, and as soon as Parker can get his hands on the mission data, he'll be eager to see how this new information -- and any surprises within it -- adds to what he calls "a puzzle of many pieces."

"I always looked at myself as a physicist learning new tricks by looking at nature," Parker said. "Space, the whole universe -- I know no better place to find new physics."

NASA's Parker Solar Probe just flew past Venus en route to the sun .
"Now that I’m a fly guy, and I fly high, Venus want to know why, why I fly by”The Parker Probe blasted off from earth Aug. 12 on a mission to learn more about solar wind and the sun's atmosphere, known as the corona. But to get close enough to study the fiery plasma surrounding the sun, the probe needs to adjust its trajectory -- and that's where Venus comes in.

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