The power and fuel capacity of the Delta IV, along with an eventual gravity assist from Venus, will get the solar probe velocity down to a point where it can orbit the sun.
Part 6: The big send-off
Part 5: Sunblock and instrumentation
The extreme conditions of the corona are one of the main reasons a solar probe mission like this hasn’t been undertaken before. But Parker features a series of innovations that will allow the probe to get close enough to do what needs to be done.
Part 4: Using the gravity of Venus to reach the sun
While NASA never intended for the probe to return to Earth, Venus represents a point of no return.
Part 3: Parker’s record-breaking ride
The probe will make multiple passes through the corona, utilizing seven gravity assists from Venus to bring its orbits closer and closer to the sun.
Part 2: Testing: Simulating the sun on Earth
A key component of Justin Kasper’s sensory equipment, Parker’s Faraday cup, had to be shown capable of withstanding the heat and light of the journey to the sun. To test it, researchers had to create something new – a homemade sun simulator.
Part 1: Why we need an early-warning system for solar ejections
When strong magnetic fields crop up along the surface of the Sun cause the atmosphere above to twist, the buildup of magnetic energy leads to a sudden release, called a solar flare. When that energy reaches Earth, it has the capacity to wreak havoc.