NASA spacecraft breaks record for coming closest to Sun

NASA spacecraft sets record for closest approach to sun

NASA spacecraft sets record for closest approach to sun

WE'VE now ventured closer to the Sun than we've ever been. The previous record was set in April 1976 by the Helios 2 spacecraft.

These records will fall again and again over the course of the Parker Solar Probe's $1.5 billion mission, which began August 12 with a liftoff from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It'll be much harder to beat the probe by the end of its mission, which is scheduled to take place in 2024.

Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just six million kilometres.

The Parker Solar Probe managed to break the previous record only 78 days after launching.

And NASA's Parker Solar Probe, travelling at more than 240,000km/h, isn't yet done with setting new records.

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That record was likewise set by the Helios 2 back in 1976, and it now stands at 153,454MPH. According to NASA, its team is able to determine these things using the spacecraft's data delivered over the Deep Space Network.

The $1.5 billion unmanned spacecraft launched in August, on a strategic mission to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of risky solar storms.

Scientists calculated that the spacecraft surpassed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun's surface at about 1:04 p.m. EDT Monday.

The Parker Solar Probe's final flyby, in 2025, will bring the craft within a mere 3.83 million miles (6.16 million km) of the sun's surface. It will reach its first perihelion, or point closest to the Sun, at about 10:28 p.m. EST on November 5, according to NASA. And the sun's powerful gravity will eventually accelerate the probe to a top speed of around 430,000 miles per hour (690,000 km/h), NASA officials have said.

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

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