A NASA solar studio spacecraft just entered the record books. In April 1 976, the German-American Helios 2 probe made…
A NASA solar studio spacecraft just entered the record books.
In April 1
976, the German-American Helios 2 probe made the spacecraft’s nearest solar radiation, which cruises within 26.55 million miles (42.73 million kilometers) of the sun. But NASA’s Parker Solar Probe zoomed within the distance today (29 October), across the border at 1:04.
Helios 2 also put the mark back then for the fastest speed relative to the sun at 153,445 km / h. Parker Solar Probe is expected to be the best today as well, reach higher speeds at 10:54 pm. EDT (0254 GMT, October 30), NASA officials said. (NASA’s Juno Jupiter Spacecraft currently holds record for top speed relative to Earth, the probe reached 165,000 mph or 265,000 km / h during its arrival on the giant plane in July 2016.) [NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Mission to the Sun in Pictures]
These records will fall again and again during the course of Parker Solar Probes $ 1.5 billion mission which started on August 12 with a liftoff from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The spacecraft will study the sun during the 24 nearest airfield during the next seven years, closer and closer to our star at every meeting.
Parker Solar Probe’s last aviation city, in 2025, will bring the craft within just 3.8 million miles (6.66 million km) of the solar surface. And the powerful force of the sun will eventually accelerate the probe to a top speed of approximately 430,000 mph (690,000 km / h), NASA officials said.
The first of these two dozen close meetings is just around the corner: It starts officially Wednesday (31 October), with perihelion (nearest sun color) arriving on the night of November 5th.
“It’s been only 78 days since Parker Solar Probe was launched, and we have now come closer to our star than any other spacecraft in history,” project manager Andy Driesman, from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, said in a statement. “It’s a proud moment for the team, although we’re still focused on our first sunrise, starting October 31.”
The spacecraft has a special carbon composite shield to protect itself and its instruments from intense heat and radiation during their near airfield.
These instruments will do a variety of measurements during the meetings. Parker Solar Probe observations help researchers to better understand the structure, composition and activity of the sun, NASA officials have said. And the data can help solve two long-standing solheims – why the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, is so hotter than the surface, and what accelerates the solar wind power particles at such huge speeds.
Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “ Out There ,” will be published on November 13 by Grand Central Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook . Originally published on Space.com .