NASA's First-Ever Mission to the Sun

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In this NASA handout, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket payload fairing is seen with the NASA and Parker Solar Probe emblems, August 8, 2018 at Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

Humankind's first mission to a star is set to begin early Saturday morning, when NASA plans to launch the Parker Solar Probe from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft will circle Venus seven times before heading to the sun's corona, where it will gather data on solar flares and other phenomena. Astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi joins us to discuss NASA's journey to the sun and other cosmic news, including newly-discovered moons around Jupiter and an underground lake on Mars. He'll also answer your summer astronomy queries.

Destination: Sun. NASA Launches Parker Solar Probe (KQED Science)


Andrew Fraknoi, professor of astronomy, San Francisco State's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the University of San Francisco's Fromm Institute; emeritus chair, Astronomy Program at Foothill College