Coronal Hole Coming Around (2016-12-06) by NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics ObservatoryNASA
Humankind has long marveled over the mysteries of our closest star — the Sun. Parker Solar Probe is diving into the Sun to solve them.
Parker is going closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it. It's also the fastest human-made object in history. It will reach a top speed of about 430,000 miles per hour.
Parker Solar ProbeNASA
Parker Solar Probe 3D Model
Parker has four science instruments: SWEAP, WISPR, FIELDS, and ISʘIS (pronounced "ee-sis"). The instruments capture images of the solar wind, measure the Sun's electric and magnetic fields, and detect solar particles.
Learn more about Parker's instruments.
Parker Solar Probe Artwork Yellow (2018) by Credit: NASANASA
Parker and its instruments are protected from the Sun by a 4.5-inch-thick (11.43 cm) carbon-composite heat shield. The heat shield can withstand temperatures reaching 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,377 degrees Celsius).
SDO Yellow (2010) by NASA/SDONASA
In December 2021, Parker became the first spacecraft to fly within the atmosphere of a star.
Dust is everywhere in space. But Parker may have found a place in our solar system without it. Scientists theorize this area close to the Sun doesn't have dust because of the extreme temperatures.
Parker Solar Probe Artwork Red Sun by NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve GribbenNASA
Did you know that the Sun's outer atmosphere is hotter than its surface? It's a mystery that has puzzled scientists for a very long time. By flying through the Sun's atmosphere, Parker gives us clues we've never had before.
Parker has also studied comets, flown through Venus' atmosphere, and taken the first visible light images of Venus' surface.
Parker Solar Probe is named after Dr. Eugene Parker, the scientist who theorized the existence of the solar wind.
Coronal Hole Coming Around (2016-12-14) by NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics ObservatoryNASA
New Discoveries Await
Launched on August 12, 2018, Parker's closest approach to the Sun will be in 2024. In the coming years, it will continue teaching us about our Sun. Learning more about our Sun helps us understand more about stars throughout the universe.
Check out these links to read, watch and learn more!
Parker Solar Probe Videos | NASA
Parker Solar Probe Achievements
'NASA STEM Stars': Director of Heliophysics | NASA
Sun STEM Toolkit | NASA
Introduction to the Electromagnetic Spectrum | Science Mission Directorate (nasa.gov)
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Author: Jessica Sansarran
Editors: Julie Freijat, Miles Hatfield, Haley Reed, Denise Hill
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Office of Communications