01 June 2017, India:
NASA is all set to launch the World’s first ever mission to touch the Sun next year. The Parker Solar Probe has been named in honour of pioneering astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the existence of the solar wind nearly 60 years ago, the US space agency announced yesterday.
“This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft for a living individual,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “It’s a testament to the importance of his body of work, founding a new field of science that also inspired my own research and many important science questions NASA continues to study and further understand every day. I’m very excited to be personally involved honoring a great man and his unprecedented legacy.”
The mission will be the agency’s first to fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere. The goal: improve space weather predictions by learning more about the sun’s corona—the “crown” of plasma that surrounds stars. The sun’s corona is its outer atmosphere, and even though it’s over 90 million miles away, it causes solar winds—charged particles that shoot away from the sun, which can produce storms in Earth’s magnetosphere as per the report by Smithsonian.com. (Image- ABC News/ Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)