back to article NASA Sun probe named for solar wind boffin Eugene Parker

Breaking with the recent focus on flinging probes and bots at our planetary neighbours, around July next year NASA will set the controls for the heart of the Sun. Actually, the plan is for the Solar Probe Plus to stop a good 6.2 million kilometres (3.9 million miles) short of Sol's surface, where the craft will have to endure …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    For Caroline Aherne.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    I thought the video feed...

    would be something like this.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    So we're expecting some hot stuff baby this evening, gonna be some hot stuff baby tonight.

    I guess we're lucky that the sun is eclipsed by the moo-ooooon!

    (Sorry--grew up in the 70s. I'll just grab my denim jacket and go now.)

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    So presumably, to avoid the high temperatures,

    They'll be going at night?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So presumably, to avoid the high temperatures,

      Silly you.

      They're going when it's winter in Austrailia.

  6. ArrZarr

    Pink Floyd references

    Personally I feel that some mileage could have been gotten out of using a joke about "The dark side of the Sun"

  7. Fred Dibnah

    Sun Probe

    It will all go wrong. Scott and Alan in Thunderbird 3 will have to fire the special beam to set off the Sun Probe's retro-rockets. Hope they can do it before they pass out from the heat.

    1. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

      Re: Sun Probe

      came here hoping to see at least one "go at night" comment and one Thunderbirds reference.


      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Sun Probe

        Ye gods and little fishies - I remember watching that episode of Thunderbirds in, what early seventies?

    2. davidp231

      Re: Sun Probe

      And then get TB2 to rescue TB3 because they (and TinTin) passed out from the heat before turning off said beam.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Sun Probe

      It seems to have been one of the Thunderbirds favourite special effects. Getting them to sweat. They were always getting trapped somewhere very hot, and either being about to run out of air, cook, or both - counting down the time until being rescued at the last second.

      Well that's when they weren't saving nuclear powered airliners from various fates.

      I used to love the Thunderbirds. My favourite episode though is where Parker picks the lock of the vault of the Bank of England with one of Lady Penelope's hairpins.

  8. W4YBO

    Did he get better?

    "Participants in the mission include... S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago..."

    Otherwise, it'll be tough to get Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar to participate, since he died in 1995.

    Or did I read that wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did he get better?

      Eugene Parker's position is the 'S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus' at the University of Chicago, named in honour of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. They have a few other similar positions named after various alumni or trustees etc.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Did he get better?

        That is a mouthful of a title. Might need a few more words eventually such "master of all they see" or "god of the realm".

  9. G R Goslin

    To put this into perspective....

    ....The high regions of the Earth's atmosphere exhibit similar temperatures. The thermosphere (80-600 kmetres up) has temperatures up to 1500C. A reflecting heatshield is all it takes.

    1. cray74

      Re: To put this into perspective....

      The thermosphere (80-600 kmetres up) has temperatures up to 1500C. A reflecting heatshield is all it takes.

      Admittedly, the wattage falling on a probe differs a bit between Earth's thermosphere and 6 million kilometers from the sun. In one situation, you've got a peak heat load of 1400 Watts per square meter. In the other, you've got about 900,000 Watts per square meter. Ultimate temperatures reached before achieving thermal equilibrium will differ a bit, as will required heat shield designs.

    2. Tom Paine

      Re: To put this into perspective....

      The high regions of the Earth's atmosphere exhibit similar temperatures. The thermosphere (80-600 kmetres up) has temperatures up to 1500C. A reflecting heatshield is all it takes.

      But here's the thing -- although the (visible) surface of the sun is a mere 5500 deg C or thereabouts, the temperature of the (invisible to the naked eye) corona is measured in the millions of degrees. Why that should be and how it comes to pass is one of the things solar physicists would like to getting a better understanding of (what with it superficially appearing to violate thermodynamics and all. It doesn't really, of course)

  10. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    3.9 million miles?

    That is serious sun-tan territory.

    Hey, maybe they could send Trump along and give him a real tan instead of a fake-orange-bottle one?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: 3.9 million miles?

      Anybody not wearing two million sunblock is gonna have a real bad day, get it?!

    2. Tom Paine

      Re: 3.9 million miles?

      The high regions of the Earth's atmosphere exhibit similar temperatures. The thermosphere (80-600 kmetres up) has temperatures up to 1500C. A reflecting heatshield is all it takes.

      All you have to do is lure him into Hotblack Desiato's black stunt ship and before you can say "25th Amendment" he'd be toast! Or, indeed, plasma.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "NASA will set the controls for the heart of the Sun."

    - Careful with That Axe, Eugene!

  12. davidp231

    Schorchy McSchorchface?

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    1300c + continuously.

    That's basically re-entry territory.

    Which is really tough to maintain.

    The joker with this is that if this is in the middle of the path of a Coronal Mass Ejection it's game over.

    1. Richard Boyce

      Re: 1300c + continuously.

      Not continuously. A speaker at the event indicated that it's hard to cope with the repeated heating and cooling during the probe's eliptical orbit.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: 1300c + continuously.

      Why can't NASA launch another probe that has a built in swimming pool? Then the poor hot sun probe can go in for a dip, when its feeling a bit warm. Plus any passing astronauts can use it to get some exercise, instead of boring running on treadmills...

  14. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Does this probe

    ...heading for the sun have an all black control panel where the black indicator lamps light up black when you press the black button?

    1. Tom Paine

      Re: Does this probe

      The actual line is "..every time I try and operate one of these small black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a black light lights up black to let me know I've done it!"

      ...from memory. Too many years falling asleep to the original radio shows...

  15. PNGuinn
    Black Helicopters

    Hope It'll be a good gig.

    I presume the space probe will have a little black button labelled in black ... somewhere?

  16. Frumious Bandersnatch

    Chris Waddle

    This post must contain a body.

    1. Still Water

      Re: Chris Waddle

      Butros, Butros-Ghali.

      1. Symon

        Re: Chris Waddle

        Myxomatosis ---->

  17. Doctor Evil

    Oh man, they missed out!

    It totally should have been called the "Hotblack Desiato" (or perhaps even "Disaster Area") -- and be painted black!

    1. Swarthy

      Re: Oh man, they missed out!

      With a carbon composite heat-shield, it probably will be black. --at least it will be after getting scorched by the thermosphere of the sun.

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