NASA blasts off historic probe to touch Sun

NASA successfully launches spacecraft that will explore the sun

The probe will dip inside this tenuous atmosphere, sampling conditions, and getting to just 6.16 million km (3.83 million miles) from the Sun's broiling "surface".

NASA rocket Delta IV launched the Parker Solar Probe out into space to begin its historic journey to the sun.

"It was just a matter of sitting out the deniers for four years until the Venus Mariner 2 spacecraft showed that, by golly, there was a solar wind", Parker said earlier this week.

The unmanned spacecraft aims to get closer than any human-made object in history to the center of our solar system.

NASA on Sunday blasted off a $1.5 billion spacecraft toward the Sun on a historic mission to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of unsafe solar storms.

NASA's first mission to the sun - will expolore the sun's atmosphere and its outermost atmosphere, the corona.

The other great mystery is the behaviour of 'solar wind, ' a stream of charged particles emitted by the sun to release energy.

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But these solar outbursts are poorly understood.

The Parker Solar Probe carries a lineup of instruments to study the Sun both remotely and in situ, or directly.

"I realise that might not sound that close, but imagine the Sun and the Earth were a metre apart". The corona holds the answers to many of scientists' outstanding questions about the Sun's activity and processes.

The spacecraft is named after 91-year old solar physicist Eugene Parker, 91, who was the first scientist to describe solar wind in 1958.

One of the reasons, scientists are sending the probe is the Sun's atmosphere and the weird property it exhibits, of being hotter than the surface of the sun itself.

NASA chief of the science mission directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, said on Saturday that Parker is an "incredible hero of our scientific community", and called the probe one of NASA most "strategically important" missions.

"We'll also be the fastest human-made object ever, travelling around the Sun at speeds of up to 690,000km/h (430,000mph) - NY to Tokyo in under a minute!" she told BBC News.

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