Science

This Probe Just Became The Closest Ever Spacecraft to The Sun

This Probe Just Became The Closest Ever Spacecraft to The Sun”

According to Advocator, Parker has already surpassed this record and continues its journey closer to our sun.

In April of 1976, the German-American Helios 2 probe made spaceflight's closest-ever solar approach, cruising within 26.55 million miles (42.73 million kilometers) of the sun.

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. After that, the probe will burn up in the sunlight.

The probe set a second record on October 29, becoming the fastest-ever man made object relative to the Sun when it hit colossal speeds of 153,454mph.

You can also read about how NASA equipped the probe so it could fly at a record close distance to the hot star. This speed represents the enormous amount of energy required to resist the Sun's gravitational pull and stay in a stable orbit (this is why we're not on fire right now).

Parker blasted off on its odyssey atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in the early hours of August 12, 2018. For this reason, the solar probe mission had to be planned around a series of "gravity assists" that would chip away at the spacecraft's orbital energy.

The Sun-bound mission is expected to last around seven years, during which the probe will orbit the planet Venus to get closer to the Sun. That mission also set a speed record of nearly 70km/s (43 miles/s), and Parker will also break that record in the next years.

At the same time, the probe has to withstand enormous temperatures of up to 1,377 Celsius (2,500 Fahrenheit). By the time of its 22nd perihelion on 24 December 2024, it will be moving at a projected speed of around 200 km/s only 6.2 million km (3.8 million mi) from the surface.

The spacecraft sports a special carbon-composite shield to protect itself and its instruments from intense heat and radiation during its close flybys.

To learn as much as it can about the solar winds, Parker needs to get as close as possible to these eruptions.



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