Parker Solar Probe breaks record, becomes closest spacecraft to Sun

The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun's surface.

Parker Solar Probe
Parker Solar Probe

On 29 October 2018, at 1:04 pm EDT (17:04 UTC), Parker Solar Probe just made a history by making the closest ever approach to the Sun by a human-made object. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun’s surface.

The past record for the nearest solar approach was set by the German-American Helios 2 shuttle in April 1976. As the Parker Solar Probe mission progresses, the probe will over and again break its very own records, with a last close methodology of 3.83 million miles from the Sun‘s surface expected in 2024.

The probe is also expected to break the record for fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun on Oct. 29 at about 10:54 p.m. EDT. The current record for heliocentric speed is 153,454 miles per hour, set by Helios 2 in April 1976.

Parker Solar Probe, shown in this animation, became the closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun on Oct. 29, 2018, when it passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL
Parker Solar Probe, shown in this animation, became the closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun on Oct. 29, 2018, when it passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

Project Manager Andy Driesman, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland said, “It’s been just 78 days since Parker Solar Probe launched, and we’ve now come closer to our star than any other spacecraft in history. It’s a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on Oct. 31.”

The Parker Solar Probe group occasionally measures the shuttle’s exact speed and position utilizing NASA’s Deep Space Network, or DSN. The DSN sends a flag to the shuttle, which at that point retransmits it back to the DSN, enabling the group to decide the shuttle’s speed and position dependent on the planning and qualities of the signal.

Parker Solar Probe’s speed and position were computed utilizing DSN estimations made on Oct. 24, and the group utilized that data alongside known orbital forces to figure the shuttle’s speed and position starting there on.

Parker Solar Probe will start its first solar encounter on Oct. 31, proceeding to fly consistently nearer to the Sun’s surface until the point that it achieves its first perihelion — the direct nearest toward the Sun — at around 10:28 p.m. EST on Nov. 5.

The shuttle will confront ruthless brutal warmth and radiation conditions while giving humanity with exceptionally close-up observations of a star and helping us comprehend phenomena that have perplexed researchers for decades. These observations are expected to add key information to NASA‘s endeavors to understand the Sun, where changing conditions can spread out into the solar system, affecting Earth and different universes.