Parker Solar Probe flying into the sun

In early August, a highly sophisticated spacecraft will take-off from Cape Canaveral on a mission to pass into the Sun’s atmosphere. By the end of 2018, the Parker Solar Probe will skim the solar corona with a white reflector and highly engineered carbon insulators facing the extreme heat to protect the electronics and communications equipment at the back of the space probe.

Johns Hopkins APL System Engineer Betsy Congdon describes in a NASA video how the reflectors, the orientation sensors, and the water-cooled solar panels will protect the spacecraft against million degrees plasma emanating from the sun.

Read more: Nature / NASA / YouTube

Image: Parker Solar Probe being lowered into a vacuum chamber to simulate space conditions. By NASA / public domain

This story is taken from the 20 July 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.