Nestled in the mountains near the French-Spanish border is a wall of mirrors seven stories high. When sunlight strikes the mirrors, it focuses on a single room that reaches 6,300 degrees Fahrenheit. “That’s one of the things we used to convince NASA we had a shot in hell of working,” says Justin Kasper, AB’99.

Kasper heads a team that built a key instrument aboard NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched August 12. It will fly closer to the sun than any previous craft.

Named after Eugene Parker, the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics, who in 1958 first predicted…

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