Parker Solar Probe is gearing up to break humanity's speed record

Published by Adrien - Tuesday, April 16, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Source: NASA

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, after matching its own record for closest approach to the Sun on March 30, is preparing for an even closer encounter scheduled for December 24 of this year. This event will set a record, accompanied by a new speed record for a man-made object.

During its 19th approach, the Parker Solar Probe came within about 4.51 million miles (approximately 7.26 million kilometers) of the Sun, thus matching its own record distance. Confirming its good health after this event, it is heading towards a new absolute record on December 24, following a final gravitational assist from Venus.
Credit: NASA GSFC/CIL/Brian Monroe

During its 19th pass near the Sun, the probe reached a speed of about 394,837 miles per hour (approximately 635,266 kilometers per hour), also matching its previous speed record. Communication was successfully established on April 2 with mission operators at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where the probe was also designed and built.

On December 24, aided by the gravitational assist from Venus on November 6, the Parker Solar Probe is expected to come within just 3.8 million miles (about 6.12 million kilometers) of the solar surface, which will increase its speed to approximately 430,000 miles per hour (about 692,000 kilometers per hour).

This project allows for the collection of valuable data on the behavior of our star and its characteristics, essential for a better understanding of the Sun.
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