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NASA has named its next solar mission, which will fly closer to the Sun than any previous mission, after pioneer solar scientist Eugene Parker, who in the 1950s predicted the existence of the solar wind.
The new moniker honors pioneering University of Chicago astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the existence of the solar wind — the stream of charged particles flowing constantly from the sun — back in 1958. [Solar Quiz: How Well Do You Know Our Sun?]
NASA has named about 20 space missions after people; the Hubble Space Telescope is perhaps the most famous example. But the 89-year-old Parker is the first researcher to be celebrated in this manner while still alive, agency officials said.
Parker deserves it, for sure, and it is really nice to honor him while he is still alive to appreciate it.
The spacecraft is scheduled to launch at the end of July.