NASA Spacecraft Breaks Record of Cruising Closest to Sun

NASA Spacecraft Breaks Record of Cruising Closest to Sun

Yesterday, it surpassed the record of 26.6 million miles (43 million kilometers) from the sun set by Helios-2 back in 1976.

The Parker Solar Probe's final flyby, in 2025, will bring the craft within a mere 3.83 million miles (6.16 million km) of the sun's surface.

This is seven times closer than the previous closest spacecraft, Helios 2, which came within 27 million miles of the Sun in 1976.Harnessing Venus' gravity, Parker will complete seven flybys over seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer and closer to the Sun.

These records will fall again and again over the course of the Parker Solar Probe's $1.5 billion mission, which began August 12 with a liftoff from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The probe set a second record on October 29, becoming the fastest-ever man made object relative to the Sun when it hit colossal speeds of 153,454mph. Like the Parker Solar Probe, Helios 2 was a probe sent into solar (heliocentric) orbit to study the processes on the Sun.

Parker Solar Probe - jointly operated by NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory - went past the record at 2:54 a.m. GMT on Tuesday 30 October (10:54 p.m. Monday 29 October EDT).

"It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focussed on our first solar encounter".

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Until 2024 Parker should approach the Sun at a distance of 6.1 million kilometers.

Not content with just being the closest ever probe to the Sun, NASA expected the spacecraft to break a speed record on Tuesday night as well.

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

The probe will begin it's first encounter with the Sun on Wednesday, culminating with its perihelion, or closest point to the Sun, at about 10:28 p.m. EST on Monday.

This week, the probe will get 15 million miles away from the sun. Thus, it will provide the information, and also take samples of the corona's particle, and analyze the Sun's magnetic and electric fields.

This way, scientists will be able to forecast solar winds or solar storms that are known to create the handsome aurora borealis but also disrupt communications, satellites, or power grids.