NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Breaks Record for Closest Approach to the Sun

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has clinched the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object, the space agency confirmed Monday.

Scientists calculated that the spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun’s surface at about 1:04 p.m. EDT Monday. The previous record was set in April 1976 by the Helios 2 spacecraft.

“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 Parker Solar Probe Project Manager Andy Driesman of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, in a statement.

Late on Monday, the probe is also expected to break the record for fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun. At about 10:54 p.m. EDT, Parker is expected to surpass the record for heliocentric speed, which is 153,454 mph, set by Helios 2 in April 1976.

Parker blasted off on its odyssey atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in the early hours of Aug. 12, 2018.

The $1.5 billion mission will take humanity closer to the Sun than ever before. Parker will be the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun’s corona, the outermost part of the star’s atmosphere. It is expected to arrive at the Sun in November.

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SOURCE: Fox News, James Rogers