NASA's Parker Solar Probe Breaks Record, Becomes Closest Spacecraft to the Sun


The United States space agency NASA announced Tuesday that its Parker Solar Probe has become the spacecraft which got closest to the Sun. The Parker Solar Probe, launched last August, reportedly crossed the 26.55-million-mile threshold off the Sun's surface initially set by the Helios-2 probe back in 1976.

The NASA Parker Solar Probe made the closest ever approach of a man-made spacecraft to the sun on Monday, Oct. 29. NASA officials also expect the probe to surpass the fastest speed relative to the Sun record that Helios-2 also set at 153,454 miles per hour.

"Parker Solar Probe will repeatedly break its own records, achieving a top speed of about 430,000 miles per hour in 2024", NASA's Sarah Frazier wrote in a blog post. At perihelion, Parker Solar Probe will fly through material at about 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit - but because material in this region is so tenuous, it doesn't influence the temperature of the spacecraft. "It's a proud moment for the team", said Andy Driesman, project manager for the mission at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. And it will keep getting closer to the sun until it flies through the corona, or outer atmosphere, for the first time next week, passing within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the solar surface.

While Parker approached the Sun at a distance of about the accounting period by 40.23 million kilometers.

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The current distance of the spacecraft from the Sun is still quite large, but it might change because the probe is moving closer towards the Sun. In all, the craft will travel almost 90 million miles, passing within Mercury's orbit and within 3.83 million miles of the sun's atmosphere, which is expected in 2024.

The team periodically measures the spacecraft's precise speed and position using NASA's Deep Space Network, or DSN. Its name has been recorded in a probe that is fastest on the surface of the sun.

NASA expects Parker to achieve its first close approach to the sun on November 5. It'll eventually travel within four million miles of the star, where it'll face "brutal heat and radiation conditions while providing humanity with unprecedentedly close-up observations of a star and helping us understand phenomena that have puzzled scientists for decades", according to NASA.