Last month NASA announced the opportunity for anyone fascinated with the universe to submit their name to be sent on a first-of-its-kind trip to the Sun. Now that opportunity is about to disappear.
Later this summer, NASA will send the Parker Solar Probe straight toward our star to study various things. On that very same probe, the names of all who wish to be a small part of the journey will be stored on a microchip. One of those names? None other than Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, who also filmed a promo for the opportunity.
Continue below for much more info and to watch Shatner’s video.
Want to get the hottest ticket this summer without standing in line?
NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission launching in summer 2018. The mission will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and your name will go along for the ride.
“This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This mission will answer questions scientists have sought to uncover for more than six decades.”
Understanding the Sun has always been a top priority for space scientists. Studying how the Sun affects space and the space environment of planets is the field known as heliophysics. The field is not only vital to understanding Earth’s most important and life-sustaining star, it supports exploration in the solar system and beyond.
The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere about 4 million miles from the star’s surface. The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles. The mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can spread out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun’s heat by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 2,500 F. This state-of-the-art heat shield will keep the four instrument suites designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind at room temperature.
The spacecraft speed is so fast, at its closest approach it will be going at approximately 430,000 mph. That’s fast enough to get from Washington, D.C., to Tokyo in under a minute.
“Parker Solar Probe is, quite literally, the fastest, hottest — and, to me, coolest — mission under the Sun,” said project scientist Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “This incredible spacecraft is going to reveal so much about our star and how it works that we’ve not been able to understand.”
You can find even more information on the Parker Solar Probe over at NASA’s official website if interested.
The deadline for submitting your name is in just a couple of days on April 27th, so be sure to head right here to join William Shatner and everyone else on this adventure.
NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission will launch in summer 2018 to travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the solar surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions – and you can send your name along for the ride. To commemorate humanity’s first visit to the star we live with, NASA invites the public to submit their names to be included on a microchip headed to the Sun aboard NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.