NASA is sending a spacecraft to get up close and personal with a star for the first time, and it’s going to have to go faster than any manmade object in history to get there. The crazy journey starts early Saturday when the Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. The ambitious mission hopes to solve some of the more baffling solar mysteries, like why the sun’s outlying corona is so much hotter than its surface and where the solar wind comes from. But perhaps more important to everyday Earthlings, the data collected by the probe could improve how we predict space weather, which can interfere with the electronics and communications technology that our society increasingly depends on. Now Playing: Watch this: NASA’s Parker Solar probe will touch the sun 3:10 “Our ability to forecast space weather is about as good as our weather forecasts were in the 1970s,” Kristopher Klein, a co-investigator on the mission from the University of Arizona, said in a statement. “If you have a better understanding of the behavior of these solar energetic particles, then you can make better predictions about when to send astronauts to Mars or protect a satellite before it gets ripped apart by a radiation burst.” Yes, there is a Parker The Parker Solar Probe is the first NASA spacecraft with a living namesake, 91-year-old Eugene Parker, who’s credited with discovering the existence of the solar… [Read full story]
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