Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

NASA probe gets closer to the sun, breaks record

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Sets Record for Closest Approach to Sun Delta IV Heavy rocket launches Parker Solar Probe on Sunday
Sandra Phillips | 01 November, 2018, 20:13

A German-American spacecraft had reached within 26.55 million miles of the Sun's surface in April 1976 to set the previous record.

Harder, better, faster, stronger (and closer) - NASA's historic Parker mission is on a record-smashing spree and has no plans to stop yet.

The Parker Solar Probe on Monday reached closer to the Sun than any other man-made object ever has, said the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

It is also expected to beat the geocentric speed record on its final pass around the Sun by a gobsmacking number, hitting an estimated top speed of 692,017 km/h (430,000 mph) - although that won't be until 2025.

The impressive mission in getting so close to the sun is on its way, and the Parker Solar Probe has already broken some of the records.

The previous record was held by the Helios 2 craft, which was launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force station in 1976.

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NASA's Parker Solar Probe, mankind's first mission to "touch" the Sun, has set a new record for closest approach to the sun by a human-made object, the US space agency announced. Even the massive Delta IV Heavy (above) that launched the Parker Solar Probe on 12 August 2018 falls well short.

When Parker Solar Probe made this image, he was about 43 million miles from Earth. 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.

The probe's mission will take it through the sun's corona for the first time next week.

Harnessing Venus' gravity, Parker will complete seven flybys over seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer and closer to the Sun.

And NASA's Parker Solar Probe, travelling at more than 240,000km/h, isn't yet done with setting new records. "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".

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

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