NASA's first mission to Sun renamed Parker Solar Probe

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One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what is going on in the solar wind.

The US space agency NASA has announced its first mission to the "touch the sun".

The mission holds claim to another first: the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.

"It's a spacecraft loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve numerous largest mysteries about our star, including finding out why the sun's corona is so much hotter than its surface".

Nicola Fox, a Parker Solar Probe Mission scientist said,"Solar probe is going to be the hottest, fastest mission".

The craft will collect vital information about the life of stars and their weather events and will help scientists improve predicting unsafe solar flares. The spacecraft will fly close enough to the Sun to watch the solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic, and it will fly though the birthplace of the highest-energy solar particles.

Scientists announced the mission, named the Parker Solar Probe, at the University of Chicago in IL.

The mission is scheduled to end in June 2025.

The mission, which is part of NASA's Living With a Star program that is meant to explore aspects of the sun-Earth system, is now on track for a launch that can occur sometime during a 20-day window that opens July 31, 2018.

In spite of all we now know about our universe, the U.S. space agency and its counterparts around the world have always been frustrated by how the Sun has closely guarded its secrets.

The probe will orbit within 6.2 million kilometres of the Sun's surface and withstand temperatures of almost 1,377 degrees Celsius.

Illustration of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. While that's not exactly "touching" the sun, NASA explains, it's more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before, and will hopefully help answer key questions scientists have long had about the sun.

In order to obtain valuable data about the Sun, the probe needs to sustain exceeding 1,400 degree Celsius and the star's radiation. I'm sure that there will be some surprises.

Parker, who is days away from his 90th birthday, described the mission as "very exciting".

Between now and the summer of 2018, the crew will be working to get the heat shields ready for the hot mission.

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