This Probe Just Became The Closest Ever Spacecraft to The Sun

Solar probe Parker, which launched July 31, has already set a record - he became the closest to the Sun man-made object in the entire history of space flight.

NASA announced its new milestone today, saying that according to its team's calculations, the Parker Solar Probe exceeded Helios 2's 26.55 million miles record on Monday afternoon. The spacecraft will move even closer, and is expected to be within 3.83 million miles of the Sun's surface in 2024, the space body said.

The impressive mission in getting so close to the sun is on its way, and the Parker Solar Probe has already broken some of the records.

Seven hours later the probe had reached a speed of 69.72 km/s (kilometres per second, which translates to around 250,992 km/h or 155,959 mph) relative to the Sun.

Parker was launched this August, and it is heading for the Sun's outer atmosphere, also known as the corona. But NASA's Parker Solar Probe zoomed inside that distance today (Oct. 29), crossing the threshold at about 1:04 p.m. EDT (1704 GMT), agency officials said. The earth's average distance from the sun is 93 million miles. The sun's gravity will eventually see the probe reach speeds of about 430,000mph. Until then, the probe will make 24 close approaches.

Starting Wednesday, the probe will begin moving closer and closer to the Sun's surface, until it reaches its first perihelion-the point at which the satellite is nearest to the Sun-around 10:28 p.m. ET on November 5.

On October 31, the day of Halloween, NASA will begin its first so-called solar encounter with the burning star.

Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probe's project scientist, added: "The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world".

This way, scientists will be able to forecast solar winds or solar storms that are known to create the lovely aurora borealis but also disrupt communications, satellites, or power grids. Thus, it will provide the information, and also take samples of the corona's particle, and analyze the Sun's magnetic and electric fields.

Vanessa Coleman