Right now, there’s a tiny little spacecraft zipping around the sun moving faster than any other man-made object has ever flown. The spacecraft, known as the Parker Solar Probe, is approachingand it’s been delivering some pretty stellar observations so far. I mean, just look at back in December! After two flybys, Parker has been dumping data back to Earth for scientists to examine — and it’s exceeding researchers’ expectations.
In a blog post on Aug. 1, researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which designed and built the spacecraft, announced that the Parker Solar Probe had delivered 22GB of data after its second encounter with the sun finished up on May 6, performing better than prelaunch estimates. The amount of data was 50% more than researchers previously expected to see.
“As we learned more about operating in this environment and these orbits, the team did a great job of increasing data downloads of the information gathered by the spacecraft’s amazing instrument,” said Nickalaus Pinkine, a missions operator at JHAPL.