Crucially, it'll be a balmy 85F on the inside of the spacecraft -- which is where the instruments that'll gather data on the corona (the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere) are found. In contrast, the heat shield will be sprayed with a white coating that's specially designed to reflect the sun's energy. At 160 pounds, the shield is a very lightweight structure made up of two panels and a 4.5-inch foam core that's 97 percent air. Due to its high speed travel -- the Parker Solar Probe will travel 430,000 miles per hour, which NASA says is fast enough to zip you from Philadelphia to Washington in one second flat -- a lithe body is necessary to achieve the required orbit.
The Parker Solar Probe will lift off on August 4th. Its journey represents a momentous conclusion to a 60 year mission to fly closer to the sun -- and at four million miles away, that's closer than ever before.