Image: NASANASA's historic mission to "touch the Sun" just reached two important milestones: It now holds the record for the closest approach to the Sun by a human-built object-and also the record for the fastest spacecraft ever sent into space.Launched on August 12, 2018, the Parker Solar Probe is now entering into the first stages of its mission.
In addition, NASA said that Parker has developed a Solar Probe and record the heliocentric velocity (speed relative to the Sun), also surpassing the record of Helios 2, which 246,960 km/h. NASA officials also expect the probe to surpass the fastest speed relative to the Sun record that Helios-2 also set at 153,454 miles per hour.
"Parker Solar Probe is also expected to break the record for fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun on October 29 at about 10:54 p.m. EDT".
"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", said Project Manager Andy Driesman.
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In the year 2025, Parker Solar Probe is estimated to get a speed of 692,012 km/h (430,000 mph) which will for sure break all the records. By April of that year, the spacecraft had set new records for closest distance to the Sun, and speed travelling around the Sun.
"It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on October 31".
"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. As of now, the Parker Solar Probe is the spacecraft that has traveled the closest to the Sun. And it will keep getting closer to the sun until it flies through the corona, or outer atmosphere, for the first time next week, passing within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the solar surface. Parker was one of the first in the world of specialists involved in studies of the solar wind.
The Parker Solar Probe team periodically measures the spacecraft's precise speed and position using NASA's Deep Space Network, or DSN. These observations will add key knowledge to NASA's efforts to understand the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.