The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is on schedule for the Saturday morning launch of the first-ever probe that will go to the sun.
According to The Guardian, the launch window for the Parker Solar Probe opens at 3:33 a.m. EDT on Saturday and the probe is expected to set a record as the fastest object to leave the earth, reaching 43,000 miles per hour during the launch. It will also become the fastest human-made object ever when it travels at about 430,000 miles per hour when it passes by Venus.
The probe is named after Gene Parker, a scientist who in 1958 wrote the theory about the expansion of the solar atmosphere and solar wind.
The Parker Probe will attempt to answer some of the questions Parker first raised in that paper.
“The answers can only come from touching the sun,” said Nicky Fox, the project scientist for the mission at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
The probe is expected to get as close as 3.83 million miles to the sun’s surface, in the atmosphere known as the corona.
“We’ve had to wait so long for our technology to catch up with our dreams,” she told reporters this week. “The sun is full of mysteries. One of those mysteries is that the corona, that lovely atmosphere that we all saw during the total solar eclipse last year, that is about 300 times hotter than the surface of the sun, and that just doesn’t make sense. So we need to go up there and figure out why that’s happening.
“The other thing of course is we really need to understand why, as Gene predicted, why this atmosphere is continually expanding and continually accelerating away from the star,” she added.