Here’s How NASA Is "Touching" The Sun with the Parker Solar Probe

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Earth orbits the sun at a speed of around 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) every second.

The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun's surface on October 29, as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team, NASA said in a statement on Monday.

Its final close approach - coming just 3.83 million miles from the Sun's surface - is expected in 2024, NASA said.

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.

Nasa's ambitious Solar Parker Probe (PSP) has just got closer to the solar surface than any other spacecraft in history.

Helios 2 also set the mark back then for fastest speed relative to the sun, at 153,454 miles per hour (246,960 km/h).

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.

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NASA launched the exploration probe to the Sun less than 80 days ago, on August 12, on a first of its kind mission to study the Sun's corona. "This is a significant moment for us, but we continue to focus on the first maximum closer to the Sun, which should begin on 31 October". 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.

Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probe's project scientist, added: "The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world".

"It's a bit like if you walked away from a campfire and suddenly got much hotter", Fox said.

The NASA Parker Solar Probe blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US, this summer.

Under the plan, Parker several times circled the Sun in elliptical orbit, with each new attempt to reduce the distance to the star.

To withstand the heat of almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the probe is protected by a special 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield.

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