NASA’s Parker Solar Probe breaks record, becomes closest spacecraft to the Sun

NASA Spacecraft Breaks Record To Be Closest Human Made Object To The Sun

The previous record was set in April 1976 by the Helios 2 spacecraft.

For the record, the Sun is about 149.6 million kilometres from Earth.

It happened on October 29, when Parker crossed the mark of 42.48 million kilometers to the Sun.

That's fast enough to travel from NY to London in about 1 minute 20 seconds (assuming someone got the atmosphere out of the way) and beats the previous record of 68.6 km/s (246,960 km/h; 153,453 mph) set by the US/German Helios 2 probe in 1976. Parker will be the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun's corona, the outermost part of the star's atmosphere. On 31 October, Parker will encounter the Sun for the first time and reach the first perihelion on 5-6 November (10:28 pm EST/3:28 am UTC).

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

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"We've been studying the Sun for decades, and now we're finally going to go where the action is", Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said ahead of the probe's launch in August.

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.

Seven hours later the probe had reached a speed of 69.72 km/s (kilometres per second, which translates to around 250,992 km/h or 155,959 mph) relative to the Sun.

Research NASA broke the record for closest approach to the Sun. "Another question we hope to answer is: Why is the solar wind accelerating up to very high speeds in the corona?" And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are handsome - but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere.

There is no rocket available that can get away from Earth with that much power, however. The Parker Solar Probe is expected to best that today as well, reaching higher speeds at about 10:54 p.m. EDT (0254 GMT on October 30), NASA officials said.

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