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Parker Solar Probe Breaks Record, Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Sun

01 November 2018

It will continue to break its own record over the next seven years, carrying out 24 close approaches, reaching within 3.83 million miles from the sun by 2024.

A NASA probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever gotten, setting a new world record.

The spacecraft passed within 26.55 million miles of the sun's surface.

It is also expected that the Parker Solar Probe will break the record speed on the approach to the Sun, which was also installed "Helios-2" - 153,454 miles per hour.

For the record, the Sun is about 149.6 million kilometres from Earth. After that, the probe will burn up in the sunlight. It will surpass Helios-2's speed record of 247,000 km/h, relative to the sun. Since then, he already flew close to Venus - she helped the probe to adjust the trajectory, so that he could approach the Sun close enough.

The previous record was set back in 1976.

Parker blasted off on its odyssey atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in the early hours of August 12, 2018. At that time, NASA expects the spacecraft to come within 3.83 million miles of the Sun's surface. It will reach its first perihelion, or point closest to the Sun, at about 10:28 p.m. EST on November 5, according to NASA.

Over time its orbit around the Sun will become shorter, but also more elliptical, meaning that the probe will be travelling progressively faster at perihelion (the closest point to the Sun) and slower at aphelion (furthest point from the Sun). Breaking this, NASA's Parker Solar Probe made way inside that distance crossing the threshold at about 1704 GMT.

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

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

To learn as much as it can about the solar winds, Parker needs to get as close as possible to these eruptions.

Parker Solar Probe Breaks Record, Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Sun