Parker Solar Probe Starts First Solar Encounter

  • Parker Solar Probe Starts First Solar Encounter

Parker Solar Probe Starts First Solar Encounter

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 USA space agency announced.

In the next seven years Parker Solar Probe will beat your own records and will be 6.16 million kilometers from the sun.

"The Parker Solar Probe will begin its first solar encounter on October 31, continuing to fly closer and closer to the Sun's surface until it reaches its first perihelion - the point closest to the Sun - at about 10:28 p.m. EST on November 5", NASA said in a statement. That might sound like an incredible feat, and I suppose it is, but it's only just a hair faster than the previous world record set by the Helios 2 probe that hit a speed of 153,453 miles per hour back in 1976.

"It's only been 78 days since the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, and we approached our star closer than any other spacecraft in history, said project Manager Andy Driesman of the applied physics laboratory of Johns Hopkins in Maryland". NASA's Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the Sun than any spacecraft has ever been before. "It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins [today]".

This solar encounter encompasses the first perihelion of the mission, the point at which Parker Solar Probe is closest to the Sun.

The spacecraft is carrying a number of state-of-the-art instruments, allowing NASA scientists to collect vital data in order to answer fundamental questions about the Earth's closest star.

"He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon", according to a NASA entry on Parker.

The Parker Solar Probe is having one heck of a week. To calculate the speed and distance of the Parker Solar Probe, the space agency utilizes its Deep Space Network, or DSN. This means that it will be within the crown of the Sun, that is the outer layers of its atmosphere where temperatures can reach 500 thousand Kelvin (about 500 thousand degrees Celsius) and even several millions of Kelvins.

NASA said, while tweeting the achievement of Parker Probe, "We have reached the closest to touch the sun".