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NASA spacecraft captures the moon eclipsing the sun twice in 6 hours

The Parker Solar Probe mission will require 55 times more energy than would be needed to reach Mars, according to NASA.

It launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy, one of the most powerful rockets in the world, with a third stage attached.

But, its trajectory and speed are critical in getting to the correct orbit.

As Earth, and everything on it, are traveling at about 67,000 miles per hour in a direction that’s sideways to the sun, craft must be launched backward to cancel out the sideways motion, NASA explains.

The Parker probe is heading past the sun, so it will need to remove about 53,000 miles per hour, according to the space agency.

 The Parker Solar Probe will swing around Venus a total of seven times, with each pass slowing it down some and pushing it closer and closer to the sun. These orbits are shown in the animation above

This will require a boost from the powerful Delta IV rocket, and several gravity assists from Venus to slow it down.

The probe will rely on a series of gravity assists from Venus to slow down its sideways motion, allowing it to get just 3.8 million miles away from the sun’s surface.

‘In this case, rather than speeding up the spacecraft, as in a typical gravity assist, Venus slows down its sideways motion so the spacecraft can get close to the sun,’ NASA explains.

‘When it finally does get close, Parker Solar Probe will have lost much of its sideways speed, but gained a great deal of overall speed thanks to the sun’s gravity.

‘Parker Solar Probe will hurtle past the sun at 430,000 miles per hour.’

At its closest approach, it will get just 3.8 million miles from the surface of the sun, making it the only spacecraft to ever venture so close.