NASA's Parker Solar Probe Could Send Your Name to the Sun

Tuesday, 06 March 2018 - 7:44PM
Space
Sun
NASA
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 - 7:44PM
NASA's Parker Solar Probe Could Send Your Name to the Sun
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NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben
Assuming you're not mentioned anywhere in the Voyager 1 probe's records in interstellar space, you have an opportunity to send your name into space a different way: on a probe around the sun.

This summer, NASA will be launching their Parker Solar Probe to explore the outer atmosphere of the sun in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of our local star. It's an entirely new type of space mission, as we've never built something designed to withstand the sun's intense heat from so close up.

Beyond measuring tools, a microchip will also be included in the probe, and NASA is accepting submissions for names to include on that microchip. They even released a promotional video including beloved Star Trek captain William Shatner, who brags that he was the first person to add his name onto the list.



Prospective sun-spelunkers can add their name here, in what NASA is calling their "Summer 2018 Hot Ticket". All you need is your name and your email, and there doesn't seem to be a catch beyond that - the space agency just wants to raise public awareness, and allowing said public to launch their names into the sun is a great way to do that.

The Parker probe (named after astrophysicist Eugene Parker) is about the size of a small car, and has a 4.5 inch (11.5 centimeter) thick plating made of carbon composite, which will allow it to survive the temperatures of approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit (1370 degrees Celsius) in the sun's atmosphere. It's a sturdy spacecraft, and NASA has been bombarding it with lasers to make sure it can handle the heat.

It will also travel extremely fast, moving at a brisk pace of 430,000 miles per hour (690,000 kilometers per hour). According to Thomas Zurbuchen at NASA's Science Mission Directorate, who said the following in an official statement:

Opening quote
"This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before. This mission will answer questions scientists have sought to uncover for more than six decades."
Closing quote




You have until April 27, 2018 to add your name to the probe, so it'll sit beside Shatner's while the probe studies how the sun works.
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