Hop Aboard NASA's Historic Voyage To Touch The Sun By Sending In Your Name

By on

CCSS NAS-4 Word Search
Image Credit: NASA.gov

Always wanted to be part of an important space mission? Now, thanks to NASA’s recently launched “Hot Ticket” program, you can get your “moment in the sun” — literally — by simply submitting your name . The space agency will put all the names received on a microchip which will accompany the Parker Solar Probe on its mission to observe our fiery star’s atmosphere from up close – something that has never been attempted before.

The compact car-sized Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Station in July 2018. It will make multiple trips around the sun and get to within 4 million miles of its surface, nearer than any other prior spacecraft. During its closest approach, the unmanned satellite is expected to reach speeds of up to 430,000 mph (692,000 km/h), shattering the current speed record held by the Juno probe, which accelerated to about 165,000 mph (265,000 km/h), as it approached Jupiter in the summer of 2016.

Parker Solar Probe mission (Image Credit: JHUAPL)

To withstand the sun’s extreme 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,377 degrees Celsius) exterior temperatures, the Parker Solar Probe is encased in a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite heat shield. NASA engineers believe the protection will prevent the probe from being incinerated and ensure the instruments inside remain at a comfortable “room temperature.”

The information collected by the spacecraft will enable scientists to expand their knowledge about the sun’s corona and find ways to predict the sporadic, and potentially harmful, solar flares. A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that a sudden massive solar event could cause up to two trillion dollars of damage in the US alone and render the country’s East Coast without power for an entire year! Though the spacecraft’s current mission timeline extends just seven years, to 2025, NASA experts say if things go well, the probe may continue to operate for a longer period of time.

Illustration of solar probe approaching NASA (Photo Credit: NASA.gov)

Originally called Solar Probe Plus, the robotic spacecraft was renamed in May 2017 in honor of pioneering astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who developed the theory of the supersonic solar wind in 1958. In addition to the microchip, the probe will also carry the researcher’s photo and a copy of his scientific paper.

Ready to become part of what project scientist Nicola Fox, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore, calls, “The fastest, hottest — and coolest — mission under the sun?” Then enter your name and email on the space agency’s special sign-up page. Once you confirm the details are accurate by clicking on an e-mail link from NASA, you will receive a certificate confirming your participation in this historic mission!

Resources: Space.com, NASA.gov, Gizmondo.com

Generate citations in MLA, APA & Chicago formats for this article.

VocabularyPlay Game


Reading Comprehension (12 questions)

  1. What does NASA’s “Hot Ticket” allow people to do?
  2. What is the Parker Solar Probe’s mission?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Can you think of the reason solar flares are more of a threat to our...


Vocabulary in Context

“A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that a sudden massive solar event could cause up to two trillion dollars of damage in the US alone, and  render ...

  • Mystery man....Friday, February 8, 2019 at 9:17 am
    Dab on the sun and see what happens, I dare you...
    • kikiMonday, January 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm
      wow that is amazing
      • manslan
        manslanWednesday, December 12, 2018 at 6:40 am
        i got mine 9 months ago
        • Bob The PotatoSunday, October 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm
          I wish I got a ticket🌙
          • slytherinfan
            slytherinfanSunday, September 16, 2018 at 8:34 am
            Did anybody get a ticket here?
            • unicornfrost
              unicornfrostFriday, September 21, 2018 at 8:28 am
              I wish
            • Big daddyThursday, September 13, 2018 at 9:50 am
              Sonic says,you can only choose your gender in games
              • 0324
                0324Monday, August 20, 2018 at 11:34 am
                I'm to late
                • AbdulmalikWednesday, June 6, 2018 at 5:28 am
                  I want a ticket now
                  • <unnamed>Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 7:52 am
                    I don't want a ticket because I am not interested in being a celebrity
                    • lordnectarine
                      lordnectarineSunday, August 26, 2018 at 4:39 pm
                      You won't be a celebrity. Literally all it is is having your name on a digital list which will get burned up. That's it. They're not going to announce the names or anything.
                    • MatíasTuesday, May 8, 2018 at 5:39 pm
                      I would love to have a ticket

                      Our Apps and Plugins