Want your name on the sun? NASA calls for applications

Want your name on the sun? NASA calls for applications

This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft in the honor of a living individual.

NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard its historic solar probe launching this summer.

And, the Parker Solar Probe could help researchers crack some of the biggest mysteries of our universe. To gain this increased understanding, NASA is launching the Parker Solar Probe on a almost seven-year mission.

But, be quick, as the cutoff date is April 27, while the shuttle itself could launch as soon as July 31.

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NASA missions are regularly renamed after dispatch and confirmation.

Specifically, it will trace how energy and heat move through the solar atmosphere, and explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.

Solar flares pose a considerable threat to modern civilizations, and by more comprehensively understanding solar weather, scientists can better predict when and where the flares will occur. That's fast enough to get from Washington, D.C., to Tokyo in under a minute.

"Parker Solar Probe is, quite literally, the fastest, hottest - and, to me, coolest - mission under the Sun", said project scientist Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

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In the 1950s, Parker, the spacecraft's namesake, studied and proposed concepts of how stars and our Sun give off energy in what he called "the solar wind". Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. As the probe swings closer and closer to its final destination, the spacecraft will be protected from temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit by a revolutionary heat shield made from carbon-carbon composite material. This heat shield will keep the four instrument suites created to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind, at room temperature. The space agency is offering enthusiasts the opportunity to participate in the mission as well, giving you the opportunity to send your name to the sun.

The probe will go where humanity has never gone before - and your name will be along for the ride.

Costing $1.5 billion dollars to build, launch and operate, Parker Solar Probe also aims to answer one of the most perplexing questions about the Sun: Why is the corona, the area immediately surrounding it, hotter than its surface?

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