Chicago scientist becomes 1st living person to have NASA mission named after him

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago scientist has now become the first living person to have a NASA mission named after him.

The mission will take a spacecraft closer to the sun than ever before.

When the spacecraft is launched in August, it will be humanity's first mission to the sun. The projected path of the Parker Solar Probe shows it will eventually reach the hottest regions of the solar system.

Tuesday the world met the mission's namesake: University of Chicago astrophysicist Gene Parker

"Feels good," he said with a laugh.

Parker, now 91, visited the probe in person. His life's work revolutionized the field of solar research. He was the first to present the concept of solar wind in the 1950's.

In a few days, the spacecraft bearing his name will journey to the sun continuing the work of unlocking the mysteries of the sun, work that Professor Parker started decades ago.

The actual launch date will fall somewhere in the window starting August 4 through the 19. Professor Parker will be traveling to Florida to watch it in person.
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