That's nearly 10 times closer than Mercury gets, and seven times closer than any previous probe.
Eastern time from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket sporting a rare third stage, giving it extra oomph to boost the payload into an interplanetary trajectory. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Sun's atmosphere called the corona.
A last-minute technical problem delayed NASA's unprecedented flight to the sun.
The Parker Solar Probe is a satellite about the size of the vehicle, and it is even set to become the fastest moving manmade object history as it fires towards the sun, breaking the record previously set by Pedro Obiang's absolute banger against Spurs last season.
This is the first time that NASA has named a rocket after a living person, Parker, who proposed the existence of solar wind - a stream of charged particles released from the sun's upper atmosphere 60 years ago. At closest approach, the solar shield of the probe will face temperatures approaching 1,377 degrees Celsius.
When it nears the Sun, the probe will travel at some 430,000 miles per hours - the fastest ever human-made object, fast enough to travel from NY to Tokyo in one minute.
"We'll be going where no spacecraft has dared go before - within the corona of a star", said project scientist Nicky Fox of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, which designed the probe and manages the mission.
In 1976 Nasa's Helios 2 spacecraft travelled within 27 million miles of the sun.
Main objectives of Parker Solar Probe?
Solar scientist Eugene Parker watches as NASA's Parker Solar Probe, named for him, launches into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on August 12, 2018.
"We always say that luck has absolutely nothing to do with this business, but I will take all that I can get", ULA Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno said in an interview Friday.
"We've had to wait so long for our technology to catch up with our dreams", Fox said.
Several other designs on the spacecraft keep Parker Solar Probe sheltered from the heat.
The spacecraft, which will plunge into the sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, is protected by an ultra-powerful heat shield.
Perhaps most important for us humans, the science undertaken with the help of the Parker Solar Probe will likely improve our ability to forecast space weather - including solar flares that can disrupt signals from satellites and, in extreme cases, can even blow out transformers on our terrestrial power grids.
"The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world", Nicola Fox, mission project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement of the mission."And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are attractive ― but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere".
"So we're already in a region of very, very interesting coronal area", Fox said.
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