‘Touch the sun': NASA spacecraft hurtles toward our star

This NASA handout artist's rendition shows the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a NASA Explorer mission launching in 2018 to study exoplanets or planets orbiting stars outside our solar system

NASA sun mission to demystify sun and its inner machinations

That's why NASA launched its historic Parker Solar Probe at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday.

The probe was successfully launched Sunday onboard a Delta-IV Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 3.31am local time.

Over the next two months, Parker Solar Probe will fly towards Venus, performing its first Venus gravity assist in early October - a maneuver a bit like a handbrake turn - that whips the spacecraft around the planet, using Venus's gravity to trim the spacecraft's orbit tighter around the Sun.

Parker Solar Probe, NASA's first ever mission to reach sun carries along names of people. It will be the closest object to ever whiz by the sun and stands to become the fastest human made object, clocking in at around 480,000 miles per hour. It will then loop around the star 24 times, coming as close as 6.16 million km (3.83 million miles) to the surface.

United States space agency NASA has launched a probe to the Sun.

The memory card also carries photos of the probe's namesake, heliophysicist Eugene Parker, and a copy of his groundbreaking 1958 scientific paper in which he first theorized the existence of solar wind - the steady, supersonic stream of particles blasting off the sun.

"Eight long years of hard work by countless engineers and scientists is finally paying off", the NASA website quoted Adam Szabo, the mission scientist for Parker Solar Probe at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The satellite was due to lift off on Saturday, but a technical fault forced the USA space agency to postpone the launch, The Guardian reports.

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A Solar Probe Cup created to measure and assess the solar wind will not be behind the shield, but it is made of titanium-zirconium-molybdenum with a melting point of about 4,260 Fahrenheit.

Even so, the probe won't exactly touch the sun or its 900,000-degree to 2-million degree aura called the solar corona, even with all the brag-worthy, new-age thermal engineering.

"When you get below T-minus four minutes, you're committed to going", Andrew Driesman, project manager for the probe at the Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, told The Baltimore Sun.

What kind of effects will the probe experience as it orbits the sun, and what about the spacecraft will help it stay on course?

Thanks to PSP's "on-site" observations, scientists will understand more about the heating mechanism of the corona, why solar winds tend to accelerate inside it, and how accelerating charged particles generate devastating electromagnetic storms.

It was the first time NASA named a spacecraft after someone still alive, and Parker wasn't about to let it take off without him.

Parker Solar Probe carries four instrument suites created to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and capture images of the solar wind.

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