NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will revolutionize our understanding of the sun
The Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. The Parker Solar Probe will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth.
How We Helped
A 4.5-inch thick, eight-foot diameter heat shield protects the Parker Solar Probe and its instruments against the intense heat and energy, and hypervelocity dust particles of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, through which the spacecraft will fly on a mission of extreme exploration.
The heat shield consists of a layer of Ultramet’s carbon foam sandwiched between two layers of a carbon composite, and a special outer coating. While the probe orbits the sun, the front of the shield is expected to reach 2500 degrees Fahrenheit; its back side will be a comparatively frosty 600 degrees Fahrenheit.