Launched on August 12, 2018, the Parker Solar Probe is a robotic spacecraft headed to probe and examine the Sun’s outer corona. The project was announced in 2009, marking humanity’s first mission to a star.

The Parker Solar Probe will orbit within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface, at its closest approach traveling 690,000 km/h and exposing itself to extreme heat and radiation that no other space craft has yet dealt with. Research from the mission may allow the development of technologies to protect future spacecraft against solar winds and other high energy events we have yet to encounter in the Cosmos. The Space Weather threat is real, bro.

Being the first NASA Mission named after a living person, the Parker Solar Probe honors Eugene Newman Parker, a distinguished Astrophysicist and astronomy professor who proposed several conceptions on how stars function in releasing energy. He famously coined the term “solar wind”, describing the phenomenon as a complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields, and energy particles released from the star.

The Sun’s Outer Corona.