18 Hours to Launch (11:12)
NASA's Parker Solar Probe is the closest any probe has gotten to the Sun. The Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch the probe, which is about the size of a car. Scientists study the sun to better understand how solar storms can affect Earth.
10 Minutes to Launch (01:50)
The NASA team prepares for the launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe. Dr. Nicky Fox, head of the project, describes the feeling of witnessing the launch.
85 Days to the Sun (03:50)
The two side boosters break away from the main rocket and the nose cone splits open. Thirty minutes later, the probe is out of Earth's atmosphere. The mission will last seven years and complete 24 orbits of the sun if its last rocket launches at the right time.
39 Minutes Into Mission (00:52)
The NASA team needs to aim the Parker Solar Probe so it can use Venus' gravity to propel itself toward the Sun. Mission control has one chance to launch the third stage rocket.
42 Minutes Into Mission (06:50)
NASA mission control has lost the ability to communicate with the Parker Solar Probe as it gets closer to the launch toward Venus. NASA has been considering a mission to the Sun since its creation, but for years it was deemed impossible.
35 Days to the Sun (08:12)
The Parker Solar Probe's systems begin to turn on and send data to NASA as it flies to Venus. The system and equipment had to be engineered to work in intense heat. Solar scientist Justin Kasper built the Solar Probe Cup to capture solar wind.
33 Days to the Sun (05:11)
The Parker Solar Probe is on course to the Sun when it returns to radio communication with NASA. The Sun drowns out all radio frequencies, and NASA cannot communicate with the probe. NASA space weather forecasting and a heat shield protect the probe.
24 Days to the Sun (01:48)
The Parker Solar Probe nears the solar corona. Scientists gain insight into how stars throughout the galaxy operate from studying the Sun.
4 Days to the Sun (03:13)
The Parker Solar Probe reaches speeds of 179,000 miles an hour. It becomes the fastest object made by humans and the first to survive such high temperatures.
Credits: Mission to the Sun (00:09)
Credits: Mission to the Sun
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