NASA Parker Solar Probe spacecraft sets new record with Sun approach

Mindy Sparks
November 1, 2018

Nasa has confirmed that its Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever been. The record was previously held by the Helios 2 in 1976, which reached a heliocentric (or sun-relative) speed of 153,454 miles per hour.

The probe will follow an elliptical orbit that will take it inside the corona, so it will finally get the closest it has ever been in 2025 - at only 6.12 million km (3.8 million miles).

That mission also set a speed record of nearly 70km/s (43 miles/s), and Parker will also break that record in the next years. This is seven times closer than the previous closest spacecraft, Helios 2, which came within 27 million miles of the Sun in 1976. 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.

A NASA sun-studying spacecraft just entered the record books.

The probe will begin its first solar encounter on October 31. Yet, the spacecraft is gradually shrinking its orbit around the sun, with the final objective being 3.83 million miles (6.16 million km) from the surface.

Going forward, $1.5 billion mission of Parker Solar Probe which got a liftoff in Florida in August 12 is set to break all previous records.

Parker will make 24 close approaches to the Sun over the next seven years.

The Parker Solar Probe team measures the spacecraft's speed and position using NASA's Deep Space Network, or DSN.

On October 31, the day of Halloween, NASA will begin its first so-called solar encounter with the burning star.

NASA's historic Parker Solar Probe - enroute to the Sun to unravel its mysteries - has become the closest spacecraft to it.

The spacecraft sports a special carbon-composite shield to protect itself and its instruments from intense heat and radiation during its close flybys.

Starting Wednesday, the probe will begin moving closer and closer to the Sun's surface, until it reaches its first perihelion-the point at which the satellite is nearest to the Sun-around 10:28 p.m. ET on November 5.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article