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I heard it got delayed at the last minute..
Just saw the story!
Glad they fixed the problem!
By better understanding the sun's life-giving and sometimes violent nature, Earthlings can better protect satellites and astronauts in orbit, and power grids on the ground, he noted.
In today's tech-dependent society, everyone stands to benefit.
With this mission, scientists hope to unlock the many mysteries of the sun, a commonplace yellow dwarf star around 4.5 billion years old.
Among the puzzlers: Why is the corona hundreds of times hotter than the surface of the sun and why is the sun's atmosphere continually expanding and accelerating, as the University of Chicago's Mr Parker accurately predicted in 1958?
"The only way we can do that is to finally go up and touch the sun," Mr Fox said.
"We've looked at it. We've studied it from missions that are close in, even as close as the planet Mercury. But we have to go there."
The spacecraft's heat shield will serve as an umbrella, shading the science instruments during the close, critical solar junctures.
Sensors on the spacecraft will make certain the heat shield faces the sun at the right times.
If there's any tilting, the spacecraft will correct itself so nothing gets fried.
With a communication lag time of 8 minutes each way, the spacecraft must fend for itself at the sun. The Johns Hopkins flight controllers in Laurel, Maryland, will be too far away to help.
A mission to get close up and personal with our star has been on NASA's books since 1958.
The trick was making the spacecraft small, compact and light enough to travel at incredible speeds, while surviving the sun's punishing environment and the extreme change in temperature when the spacecraft is out near Venus.
"We've had to wait so long for our technology to catch up with our dreams," Mr Fox said.
"It's incredible to be standing here today."
More than 1 million names are aboard the spacecraft, submitted last spring by space enthusiasts, as well as photos of Mr Parker, the man, and a copy of his 1958 landmark paper on solar wind.
"I'll bet you 10 bucks it works," Mr Parker said.
Our world! Everyone goes sunbathing somewhere, how many heard about Mr. Parker?
Eugene N. Parker predicted the existence of solar wind in 1958. The NASA spacecraft is the first named for a living person.
I LOVE space documentaries!!
After years of tantalising hints, scientists have finally found direct evidence of water ice tucked away at the bottom of craters near the moon's poles.
"A long time ago people thought 'Oh, we've solved this problem', but not many people realise we do not have any definitive evidence," said Shuai Li, a planetary scientist at the University of Hawaii.
His team's findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, boosts the moon's potential as a habitable destination and stepping stone for future space missions.
Back in the early 1960s, scientists proposed that water ice could exist in permanently shaded parts of bodies such as the moon, Mercury and the dwarf planet Ceres.
In the past decade, hydrogen-rich areas have been detected at the poles by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-1.
Hydrogen is a fundamental component of water — so evidence of hydrogen has been interpreted to indicate the presence of water near the poles. But that data can be misleading, Dr Li said.
"It could be hydrogen, it could be hydroxl, it could be water, or could be anything else with hydrogen. The data can not distinguish which is which," he said.
Hydrogen is also a component of the solar wind — a constant stream of high energy particles from the sun that whips across the surface of the moon.
To pin down the source of the hydrogen, Dr Li and his colleagues analysed data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper on the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which measures the wavelength of molecules reflecting off the surface.
"Ice is very unique on the lunar surface," Dr Li said.
"As it goes to longer wavelengths the reflections are lower. This is opposite to the lunar surface material."
Craig O'Neill, a planetary scientist at Macquarie University, said the data provided definitive evidence of water ice.
"I buy this evidence more or less on face value," said Dr O'Neill, who was not involved in the research.
"While most people had assumed what we were seeing was water on the moon, or certainly supporting evidence for water on the moon, this is really a smoking gun."
The data shows tiny patches of exposed ice water at the bottom of a small number of craters on both the north and south poles.
"The reason we see more on the south is the south pole has more cold spots than the north pole," Dr Li said.
Here in the darkest and coldest parts of the moon, temperatures can plummet to minus 238 degrees Celsius — the coldest in the solar system.
But this pattern is very different to ice deposits at the poles of Mercury and Ceres, both of which also experience freezing temperatures at the poles.
"On Mercury and Ceres it's a continuous, large area of ice, but on the moon it's just spots like salt and pepper," Dr Li said.
The moon formed as a hot, molten chunk of rock jettisoned from Earth following an impact with another large body around 4.5 billion years ago.
Unlike Mercury or Ceres, the moon's orbit only stabilised in the past 2-3 billion years, said Dr O'Neill.
"It would mean that the water we're seeing here wasn't delivered to the moon 4 billion years ago, really early in its history.
"It's probably been delivered over time by cometary impacts, and only been able to survive in those south pole craters since they've actually been in the shade."
The rate of cometary impacts also dropped significantly around the 2-3 billion-year mark.
But the meteorites that did continue to rain on the surface could have ploughed up the shaded areas throwing water vapour into the air.
Dr Li and his colleagues propose this process — known as impact gardening — may explain why the ice cover is patchy.
"A vapour plume could be either lost into space or can condense back to the surface," Dr Li explained.