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NASA just built the fastest man-made object ever

NASA just built the fastest man-made object ever

Early Saturday morning, NASA plans to launch a mission unlike any before it - this one is going to "touch" the Sun. The Parker Solar Probe will embark on a almost seven-year venture, becoming the first spacecraft to have a direct encounter with a star. This will place the probe just 3.8 million miles from the Sun's surface - seven times closer to the star than any craft that came before it, according to NASA.

The Parker Solar Probe, named after American solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will, as the USA space agency describes it, "touch the sun" as it flies within 3.9 million miles of the star's surface. Ultimately, it will find itself within the outermost part of the Sun's atmosphere, an area known as the corona.

Over the course of its mission, the Parker Solar Probe will orbit the sun 24 times while being subjected to extreme heat and radiation, with temperatures expected to reach 1,377C, almost hot enough to melt steel. For seven years it will orbit at around 3.38 million miles from the star's surface, where temperatures reach 1,400C. It's the fastest any man-made object will have ever traveled and the probe will likely hold that title for a long time. The spacecraft and its suite of delicate instruments will be protected from the sun's extreme heat by a carbon fiber heat shield.

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Nasa aims to collect data about the highly magnetised corona.

After making its closest approach in late 2024, the spacecraft will run out of fuel and be destroyed.

The spacecraft is named for Eugene Parker, the scientist who first predicted the existence of the solar wind - fast-moving solar particles that stream through the entire solar system.