NASA’s Parker Solar Probe closest ever to Sun

Audrey Hill
November 2, 2018

The spacecraft, which was launched in August with an ambitious goal to "touch the Sun" - not literally, though, - is created to re-think our understanding of the Sun's corona and solar winds.

The Parker Solar Probe now holds two records: Closest approach to the sun by a spacecraft and fastest human-made object relative to the Sun. The probe is still moving closer to the Sun and should reach its first relatively close encounter with the star on November 5. It will surpass Helios-2's speed record of 153,454 miles per hour (247,000 kilometers per hour), relative to the sun. The previous record was set back in 1976, that having been bumped to second place at approximately 1:04PM EDT today.

Over the next seven years, the probe will make 24 close approaches and finally get the closest it will ever be - at 3.8 million miles. But NASA's Parker Solar Probe zoomed inside that distance today (Oct. 29), crossing the threshold at about 1:04 p.m. EDT (1704 GMT), agency officials said. Dries man also said that it is a very proud moment for the whole team, but they are focused on their first solar encounter on October 31. The spacecraft will move even closer, and is expected to be within 3.83 million miles of the Sun's surface in 2024, the space body said. The report also says that on October 30 at 05:54 Moscow time the probe was supposed to break another record - the speed limit where the spacecraft was approaching our star.

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Monday was the day when the Parker Solar Probe broke the record of 26.6 million miles that was set om 1976 by the German-US satellite called Helios-2. And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are handsome - but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere. "Another question we hope to answer is: Why is the solar wind accelerating up to very high speeds in the corona?"

There is no rocket available that can get away from Earth with that much power, however.

Over the next seven years the Parker Solar Probe will repeat this manoeuvre six more times, losing a little bit of orbital energy with each pass.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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