The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - World -

A NASA space­craft blasted off from Cape Canaveral last night on a his­toric mis­sion to pro­tect the Earth by un­veil­ing the mys­ter­ies of dan­ger­ous so­lar storms.

Launched on a Delta IV rocket, the Parker So­lar Probe will fly straight through the outer so­lar at­mos­phere dur­ing a seven-year mis­sion.

Among the thou­sands of spec­ta­tors at the launch was as­tro­physi­cist Eu­gene Parker, 91, for whom the space­craft is named. The probe is guarded by an ul­tra-pow­er­ful heat shield that can en­dure un­prece­dented lev­els of heat, and ra­di­a­tion 500 times that ex­pe­ri­enced on Earth.

NASA has billed the $2.1 bil­lion mis­sion as the first space­craft to “touch the Sun”.

Delta IV rocket.

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