Back in March, William Shatner asked fans if they wanted to “join NASA on a historic mission to the sun” courtesy of the Parker Solar Probe, due to launch on July 31 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That article can be found here.
Plenty of people responded, and 1,137,202 names will join Shatner’s on a memory card that will fly aboard the mission. The card was installed on the probe last Friday.
“Parker Solar Probe is going to revolutionize our understanding of the sun, the only star we can study up close,” said mission project scientist Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland.
“It’s fitting that as the mission undertakes one of the most extreme journeys of exploration ever tackled by a human-made object, the spacecraft will also carry along the names of so many people who are cheering it on its way.”
The Parker Solar Probe Mission “aims to help solve two long-standing mysteries: how the solar wind (the stream of charged particles emanating from the sun) is accelerated and why the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona, is so much hotter than the star’s surface.”
The picture below shows the memory card, which is on a plaque, being installed on the Parker Solar Probe.