NASA Solar Probe Becomes Closest Spacecraft to the Sun

NASA Solar Probe Becomes Closest Spacecraft to the Sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has broken the world record for the closest approach to the sun ever achieved by a man-made spacecraft - and it's not stopping yet.

NASA announced its new milestone today, saying that according to its team's calculations, the Parker Solar Probe exceeded Helios 2's 26.55 million miles record on Monday afternoon. At its closest approach in 2024, the probe is due to get within 6.2 million kilometers of the Sun's surface.

"It's been 78 days since the launch of Solar probe Parker, and now he approached the star closer of all previous spacecraft".

Another record is in sight for the Parker Solar Probe. It will surpass Helios-2's speed record of 247,000 km/h, relative to the sun.

The $1.5 billion unmanned spacecraft launched in August, on a strategic mission to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of risky solar storms.

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Since its launch on August 12 from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, the probe has passed Venus and is heading closer to the Sun. The previous record was set in April 1976 by the Helios 2 spacecraft.

Parker's first close encounter with the Sun is scheduled for October 31. "It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter".

There is no rocket available that can get away from Earth with that much power, however. Breaking this, NASA's Parker Solar Probe made way inside that distance crossing the threshold at about 1704 GMT. The probe is now in the process of aligning itself into an elliptical orbit that will enable studies of the solar wind near its source.

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

Over the next 11 days the Parker Solar Probe will endure temperatures of 1,377 C (2,500 F) to gather a vast trove of data on the behaviour of our parent star, measuring heat currents on the surface and investigating the origins of the stream of charged particles known as the solar wind.

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