NASA’s ambitious mission to “touch” the Sun got underway at 3:31 a.m. EST on August 12 with the launch of the Parker Solar Probe from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Within six weeks, the spacecraft, which is currently traveling at 39,500 miles per hour, will conduct the first of seven flybys of Venus and use the planet’s gravitational pull to catapult itself closer to the Sun. The process, known as gravity assist, is instrumental in the probe’s mission to reach our fiery star.
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