NASA Wants to Send your Name to the Sun
If you have ever dreamed of going to space, but aren’t really cut out to be an astronaut – there is another way. NASA is sending a list of names into space with the Parker Solar Probe that will launch towards the sun in July.
Simply head over to the NASA's website to add your name to a microchip that the Parker Solar Probe will carry on its mission towards the Sun. The Parker Solar Probe will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Station in July this year.
Once in space, the probe will use Venus’ gravity to get close to the sun. The probe will complete seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
Solar Probe to Investigate Solar Wind
Eventually, the probe will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as well as within the orbit of Mercury. It will come as 3.9 million miles to the sun’s surface, Earth’s average distance to the sun is 93 million miles.
The probe will complete a variety of tests and investigations including imaging and in situ measurements. The outer part of the sun’s atmosphere is known as the corona, the mission will focus on the origin and evolution of solar wind in this space.
NASA scientists hope the data collected will help inform their ability to forecast changes in space that have a potential impact on life on earth. The Parker Space Probe will experience intense heat and radiation as it carries out its mission.
Equipment Protected by Metal Buffer
The probe will go so close to the sun that it will be able to witness the solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic. The scientific equipment on board will be kept at a moderate temperature, protected by a 4.5-inch-thick (11.43 cm) carbon-composite shield.
The exterior of the probe will experience temperatures topping 2,500 F (1,377 C). The mission will answer long-held questions about the way solar wind works and how it is composed of solar energetic particles.
The probe will carry four individual instruments suits to study magnetic fields, plasma, energetic particles, and image the solar wind. This isn’t the first time NASA has called for people to add their name to space history.
Elon Musk's Name Flys past Pluto
In 2005, the agency asked for people's names which were added to a compact disc (remember those) that was added to the payload of the New Horizons spacecraft which had a mission to investigate the dwarf planet, Pluto.
"First Mission To The Last Planet" spacecraft was launched in 2006, and in the summer of 2015, it completed a flyby of Pluto capturing information about the planet, its moons, and Kuiper Belt objects. Onboard was the CD with the names of the 434,738 people who gave their data to NASA. The list of names included Elon Musk and Bill Nye.