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91.5 KIOS-FM Station Manager, Ken Dudzik, Releases The Following Update:

NASA Solar Probe launches tomorrow

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will soon travel closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it.

The probe is slated to launch August 11th, lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Dr. Yari Collado-Vega, NASA Heliophysicist, says this is an historical mission. 

She explains the Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun but the Parker Solar Probe will get much closer to it, being only 3.8 million miles away from the surface. 

Collado-Vega says if you think of a football field with the sun as the end zone, the Parker Solar Probe will be along the 4th yard line. 

She says it’s something NASA hasn’t been able to do in the past because the technology wasn’t available until recently.

"It has many things that will actually protect them from the radiation; from the heat coming from the sun.  For example, it has a heat shield that is 4.5 inches wide made up of a carbon composite.  That is actually going to keep the instruments on one side at room temperature while the other side, the side that’s seeing the sun, is going to be around 2500 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s a huge difference in temperature.”

Collado-Vega says the Parker Solar Probe also has a radiator system with flowing water that helps maintain the solar rays at an optimal temperature. 

More information is available at NASA.gov.