Solar spacecraft smashes records for speed and proximity to the Sun

Solar spacecraft smashes records for speed and proximity to the Sun

Solar spacecraft smashes records for speed and proximity to the Sun

Nasa has confirmed that its Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever been.

The space agency said the probe was well on its way to break the 153,454 miles per hour milestone set by the Helios 2 in April 1976. In all, the craft will travel almost 90 million miles, passing within Mercury's orbit and within 3.83 million miles of the sun's atmosphere, which is expected in 2024.

Nasa's ambitious Solar Parker Probe (PSP) has just got closer to the solar surface than any other spacecraft in history.

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The Parker Solar Probe managed to break the previous record only 78 days after launching.

Parker is expected to beat the Helios 2 heliocentric speed record (measured with respect to the Sun) on 29 October at about 10:54 pm EDT (2:54 UTC, 30 October).

The $1.5 billion unmanned spacecraft launched in August, on a strategic mission to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of risky solar storms. Dries man also said that it is a very proud moment for the whole team, but they are focused on their first solar encounter on October 31.

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Before that, in the near spacecraft, which landed on this star, was "Helios-2", in 1976. The sun's gravity will eventually see the probe reach speeds of about 430,000mph. During this years, the probe will get closer to the Sun by following an elliptical orbit. According to NASA, its team is able to determine these things using the spacecraft's data delivered over the Deep Space Network. In addition to its new distance record, NASA also expects the Parker Solar Probe will break the record for fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun shortly before 11PM EDT tonight.

The probe will begin it's first encounter with the Sun on Wednesday, culminating with its perihelion, or closest point to the Sun, at about 10:28 p.m. EST on Monday.

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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Solar probe Parker should study the structure and dynamics of magnetic fields in the sources of the solar wind and the plasma particles around the sun.

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