>> One, zero, lift off.>> This is the moment NASA launched its expedition to, quote, touch the sun.>> A daring mission to shed light on the mysteries of our closest star, the sun.>> The Parker Solar Probe was launched onboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral on Sunday.
Its seven year mission will bring it to within 3.8 million miles of the solar surface. That might sound like a lot, but it's seven times closer than any previous space craft. The probe will travel into the sun's solar corona, that's the hazardous region of intense heat and solar radiation that you can see during an eclipse.
There it'll be up against temperatures reaching nearly 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1370 degrees Celsius. A heat shield has been designed to keep Parker's instruments at a tolerable 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or 29 degrees Celsius. The corona gives rise to solar winds, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system and can cause havoc with communications technology back on Earth.
NASA hopes the probe, which is set to become the fastest man-made object in history, will penetrate long-standing mysteries about solar physics that have puzzled scientists for decades.