Parker Solar Probe in 3D: Diving Into Our Sun's Mysteries

Exploring our Sun to learn about our solar system and stars throughout the universe.

By NASA

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 Solar Probe Encapsulation (2018-07-19) by NASA/Leif HeimboldNASA

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.

Loading 3D model

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.

WISPR Parker Solar Probe Spots Coronal Streamer by NASA/Naval Research Laboratory/Parker Solar ProbeNASA

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. 

wispr venus image by NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research LaboratoryNASA

Parker has also studied comets, flown through Venus' atmosphere, and taken the first visible light images of Venus' surface. 

Eugene Parker Photo by Jean LachatNASA

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. 

More Resources

Check out these links to read, watch and learn more!

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Credits: Story

Author: Jessica Sansarran
Editors: Julie Freijat, Miles Hatfield, Haley Reed, Denise Hill


NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Office of Communications

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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