Nasa space probe off to get close look at Sun

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches Nasa's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Aug 12, 2018.
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches Nasa's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Aug 12, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Nasa has launched a space probe that will go closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before.

The craft will endure extreme heat while zooming through the solar corona to study the Sun's outer atmosphere that gives rise to the solar winds, said the US agency.

The Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft the size of a small car, launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida at about 3.30am local time yesterday, on a seven-year mission.

It is set to fly into the Sun's corona within 6.1 million km of the solar surface, seven times closer than any other spacecraft.

Nasa hopes that the findings from the US$1.5 billion (S$2.1 billion) project will enable scientists to forecast changes in the Earth's space environment.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2018, with the headline 'Nasa space probe off to get close look at Sun'. Print Edition | Subscribe