NASA spacecraft breaks record for coming closest to Sun
NASA spacecraft breaks record for coming closest to Sun
NASA Parker Solar Probe spacecraft sets new record with Sun approach
01 November, 2018, 20:13
Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles.
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. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun's surface on October 29, 2018, at about 1:04 p.m. EDT, as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team.
The previous record was set in 1976 by the German-US satellite Helios 2.
The average distance between the sun and Earth is 93 million miles (150 million km). After that, the probe will burn up in the sunlight.
29 Oct 2018 spacecraft, which was launched to study solar phenomena, was so close to the star that broke the record for the closest approach to the sun, according to NASA.
"The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles (42.73 million kilometers) from the Sun's surface on October 29, 2018, at about 1:04 pm EDT (1704 GMT)", said a NASA statement.
The $1.5 billion mission will take humanity closer to the Sun than ever before. To move closer to the sun, a spacecraft has to lose some of this energy.
There is no rocket available that can get away from Earth with that much power, however. 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 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. On its closest approach in the year 2024, Parker Solar Probe will be travelling at approx 430,000 miles per hour and it will set a new record for a manmade object. It is assumed that one of them will pass at a distance of 6.16 million km from the star.
The spacecraft sports a special carbon-composite shield to protect itself and its instruments from intense heat and radiation during its close flybys.
This unprecedented close-up view of the behaviour of a star will hopefully provide answers to many long-standing questions in the fields of solar physics.
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