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Keeping it cool: The Parker Solar Probe’s high-performance heat shield

August 8, 2018
CONTACT: Geoff Brown, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
240-228-5618, Geoffrey.Brown@jhuapl.edu
Mike Buckley, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
240-228-7536, Michael.Buckley@jhuapl.edu
Dennis O’Shea, Johns Hopkins University
Office: 443-997-9912 / Cell: 410-499-7460
dro@jhu.edu @JHUmediareps

Media Advisory

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, scheduled to launch as soon as Saturday, is destined to eventually skim through the sun’s atmosphere and come within 4 million miles of the solar surface. To put it simply: This spacecraft is going where it’s brutally hot.

Credit: Greg Stanley/Johns Hopkins University

On the sun-facing side of the probe’s thermal protection system, temperatures will reach 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other side, most of the spacecraft’s instruments will be at about 85 degrees.

It took more than a decade to create this hard-working heat shield. Details on the system and on the work that went into it are available in this story on the Hub, the Johns Hopkins University news website. You may use the story as you would a news release.

There are also two videos available to you. One, from NASA, illustrates what happens when you put a blowtorch to the heat shield (hint: not much). The other compares the heat Parker Solar Probe will experience to temperatures commonly experienced on Earth.

The illustration in this advisory is also available for your use.

The Parker Solar Probe was designed and built and is being managed for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Also involved in the creation of the thermal protection system were researchers from the university’s Whiting School of Engineering.

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