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NASA ’s Parker Solar Probe will soon blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on an epic journey that will see it dive through the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere. The Parker launch window opens early Saturday. The $1.5 billion mission will take humanity closer to the Sun than ever before. Scientists have spent years devising technologies that will protect the car-sized spacecraft from instant incineration when it enters the Sun’s corona. One of Parker’s key defenses is a white heat shield that deflects heat. “The heat shield is made out of a couple of different materials – one is carbon-carbon, which is a lot like the graphite epoxy you might see in your golf clubs or... Full story

10 August