Narration: Nicky Fox
Many of us here in the U.S. had an opportunity to witness the first solar eclipse visible here in almost a hundred years. During a total solar eclipse you can see the outer, hazy atmosphere around the Sun or the corona. And you can see it with your naked eye. Now this corona is actually hotter than the surface of the Sun – over 300 times hotter. Now just imagine flying a spacecraft through that region and taking data at the same time. Sound like science fiction? Not anymore. It’s soon to be a reality. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission is about to embark on a historic journey to our very own star – the Sun. At the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, the spacecraft is currently being built and tested to get ready for launch in the summer of 2018. Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living With a Star Program to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. This truly is a mission of extremes. Hurtling at breathtaking speeds through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions, and ultimately providing humanity with the first ever close-up view of a star. So when you check out a solar eclipse and you see that corona, think Parker Solar Probe and the mission launching soon to touch the Sun. You can follow the adventure with us at solarprobe.jhuapl.edu.