Parker Solar Probe Breaks Record, Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Sun

Pablo Tucker
November 1, 2018

In a period of only 78 days of the launch of Parker Solar Probe, the spacecraft has made history by cruising closest to the Sun.

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.

Illustration of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun
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It is clarified that the satellite close to the Sun at 40.23 million kilometers.

Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles. NASA employees expect that he will beat his own record and will eventually fly up to the Sun at a distance of 6.16 million kilometres in 2024. The previous record was set back in 1976, that having been bumped to second place at approximately 1:04PM EDT today.

U.S. space agency NASA boasted in a statement the Parker Solar Probe will continue to break even more records as it makes numerous approaches to the star. Even the massive Delta IV Heavy (above) that launched the Parker Solar Probe on 12 August 2018 falls well short.

Parker Solar Probe is also expected to break the record for fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun on October 29 at about 10:54 p.m. EDT. In the final flyby in 2015, Parker Solar Probe will cruise at the closest 3.83 million miles from the sun's surface. "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 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.

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

The Sun-bound mission is expected to last around seven years, during which the probe will orbit the planet Venus to get closer to the Sun.

The primary objective of the Parker Solar Probe is to study the solar wind.

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