NASA Probe Set To ‘Touch The Sun’ Lifts Off

Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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A NASA probe designed to get closer to the Sun that any spacecraft ever has launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:31 a.m. Sunday.

The Parker Solar Probe will orbit the Sun 24 times at a distance of approximately 3.8 million miles from the Sun’s surface at “closest approach,” according to NASA.

The probe was set to lift off Saturday but was halted two minutes before go time, reported Sky News. “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles played in the control room after Sunday’s launch pulled through.

Although its Sun-facing side will reach temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the spacecraft’s 4.5-inch thick carbon composite foam heat shield will keep its temperature at a “cozy 85 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to NASA.

The probe blasted off “with a whopping 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars” even though its only weighs 1,400 pounds, according to NASA. (RELATED: Vice President Pence Outlines The Pentagon’s Four Steps For Making Space Force Happen)

The probe is the first NASA mission named for an individual who is still alive, according to NASA. Dr. Eugene Parker was a solar physicist who predicted the existence of solar wind, the “stream of charged particles and magnetic fields that flow continuously from the Sun,” in 1958.

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