NASA's iconic Parker Solar Probe is about to touch the sun. On September 25, 2018 the spacecraft looked back and…
NASA’s iconic Parker Solar Probe is about to touch the sun. On September 25, 2018 the spacecraft looked back and caught a great view of the earth. The image was taken by the WISPR (Wide Field Imager for Solar Probe) instrument, which is the only imaging instrument installed on the Parker Solar Probe.
The earth appears as the bright, round object on the right side of the picture, while a small bulge in the earth indicates the presence of the moon. Star cluster Pleiades and two bright objects, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, are also visible in the left to the right and at the bottom left-hand side. When the picture was taken, Parker Solar Probe was approximately 27 million miles from the ground.
Launched in August 201
8, NASA’s Parker Probe is the first mission to the sun. The mission, named after physicist Eugene Parker, will fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere and try to solve some of the most important questions about our planet’s life-sustaining star. The main objectives of the mission are to study Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona and explore the basic processes that drive the sun wind. The resulting data will improve our understanding of dangerous space events near the earth. These events can affect life on earth and interfere with satellites in space.
Parker Solar Probe will travel closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history. Over the next seven years, Parker Probe will use Venus gravity and spin around the planet seven times, taking the spacecraft closer and closer to the sun.
With 27 million miles, Parker has also broken the record for the nearest meeting with Sun, launched by a NASA spacecraft 1976. The probe will reach within 15 million miles of the sun’s atmosphere in November and will eventually fly as close as 3, 8 million miles from the sun’s surface.