A Q&A with Justin Kasper on going where no probe has gone before.
Touching the Sun to protect the Earth
Part 7: The end of the mission
The clock on the Parker Solar Probe will start ticking when it runs out of fuel used to make the attitude adjustments necessary to keep the craft’s key components protected behind the heat shield.
Part 6: The big send-off
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 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.