NASA sets the controls for the heart of the sun


Parker space probe due for launch this weekend.


The Parker Space Probe being prepared for launch.
The Parker Space Probe being prepared for launch.
NASA

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, NASA is set to launch the Parker Space Probe – a vehicle designed to get closer to the sun than any previous human artefact – this weekend.

The probe, which is about the size of a small car, will exploit the gravity of Venus to gradually over seven years build an orbit that will take it to within six million kilometres of the sun’s surface – well inside the orbit of Mercury.

NASA intends to take advantage of a 45 minute launch window that begins at 3:45am US eastern daylight time this Saturday, August 11. That’s 12:45am on the US west coast, 7:45am in the UK, 1:15pm in India, and 5:45pm on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

The probe will be aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket and launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Eager observers can watch the event live on NASA TV.

And, just because it seems very appropriate, you can listen to, and watch a video clip for, Pink Floyd’s Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun here.

  1. https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/parker-solar-probe-humanity-s-first-visit-to-a-star
  2. https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#public
  3. https://youtu.be/3zuEfmmCA5s
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