Launched in 2018 as part of it’s mission to explore the sun, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe continues to move closer and closer to its target, setting one new record after another. The latter was delivered this week. During the close encounter, the spacecraft exceeded the speed of 532,000 km/h.
The Parker Solar Probe is NASA’s robotic spacecraft for studying the Sun’s outer corona. It is assumed that it will approach the “surface” of the Sun at a distance of 8.86 of the Sun’s radius. The probe is named after the American astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the existence of the solar wind in 1958.
The design uses a carbon composite heat shield. It reflects the energy of the star and keeps the device temperature stable. The probe uses a suite of onboard instruments to study high-energy particles in a star’s atmosphere – the solar wind.
The spacecraft circled Venus several times in order to use the planet’s gravity and get closer to the Sun. During this last approach, the probe approached the surface of the Sun within 10.4 million km. The previous maximum took place on January 17 and was 13.5 million km. Parker Solar Probe picks up speed this week
The Parker Solar Probe has now completed its eighth circle on the Sun and has been able to lift it closer and at higher speeds than any object ever created by mankind at 532,000 km/h, becoming the fastest object ever created.