NASA invites public to 'join' first mission to sun

Updated 2018-03-09 17:46:01 Xinhua

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Wednesday invited people around the world to join the new Parker Solar Probe mission by submitting their names.

A microchip that stores all the names collected before April 27 of this year would be installed on the mission, "and your name will go along for the ride," according to a NASA online statement.

The mission would be launched this summer for a trip to the sun's atmosphere about 4 million miles (6.4 million km) from the surface to study how the star affects space and other planets.

A car-sized spacecraft would approach the sun at a fast speed that would reach approximately 430,000 mph (over 690,000 km per hour) at the closest distance.

The spacecraft has a thick carbon-composite shield of 4.5 inches (11.43 centimeters) to withstand the sun's heat which can reach nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1371 degrees Celsius).

Scientists expect the mission could help study the sun's magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind at room temperature.

"This incredible spacecraft is going to reveal so much about our star and how it works that we've not been able to understand," project scientist Nicola Fox said in a NASA statement.

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