This really got me worked up. It wasn’t enough that it’s a space probe which is inherently cool! It’s a probe headed to the sun, obviously. What makes this one different? Well a few things do!
For starters this probe will travel 8 times closer than any previous probe. It will get as close as 4.1 million miles. It sounds like a lot but consider we are 93 million miles away. I suddenly want to break into a TMBG song! Anyhow, it gets cooler, or hotter, depending on if you like puns or not. This spacecraft will also achieve the fastest speed of any probe ever launched. Ever.
The top speed of this craft will be around 450,000mph (about 724,000km/h for you metric folks!). That is nearly half a million miles per hour! You could travel to the moon in about half an hour. That’s what made me so giddy about this one.
It goes up in 2015 and will help us to better understand some mysteries of our nearest star. One of which is why the Corona is 1.8 million degrees (F) vs the comparably chilly surface of 11,000F. I’m not converting that to metric, sorry, it’s late and I’m tired 🙂
It’s a great time to be a science nut!
CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/05/18/solar.probe/index.html
Official site: http://solarprobe.gsfc.nasa.gov