NASA spacecraft sets record for closest approach to sun

An artist's impression of the probe near the sun Pic NASA

Image An artist's impression of the probe near the sun Pic NASA

Monday was the day when the Parker Solar Probe broke the record of 26.6 million miles that was set om 1976 by the German-US satellite called Helios-2. It is the first NASA mission to be named after a living individual. The sun's gravity will eventually see the probe reach speeds of about 430,000mph.

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.

The average distance between the sun and Earth is 93 million miles (150 million km).

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Parker will make 24 close approaches to the Sun over the next seven years.

Before that, in the near spacecraft, which landed on this star, was "Helios-2", in 1976.

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. Even the massive Delta IV Heavy (above) that launched the Parker Solar Probe on 12 August 2018 falls well short.

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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. "It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on October 31". Perihelion - nearest to the Sun point of the orbit - for the first time reaches 5 November.

While Parker is in orbit around the Sun seven years, if the earlier does not fail.

It happened on October 29, when Parker crossed the mark of 42.48 million kilometers to the Sun. 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. The spacecraft uses a special carbon-composite shield for protection from intense heat and radiation during close flybys.

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