TO POT The probe has become the fastest man-made object in history.
The Parker Solar Probe, investigating our Sun, reached a record speed of 394,736 miles per hour (mph) last month, twice as fast as lightning or 200 times the speed of a rifle bullet.
The achievement was achieved during its seventeenth solar oscillation on September 27, breaking its distance record by skimming just 4.51 million of the solar surface.
The Parker Solar Probe will spend the next week finishing data transmissions to Earth from this latest encounter, which focused on recording the properties, structure and behavior of solar winds.
The Parker Solar Probe, investigating our sun, reached a record speed of 394,736 miles per hour (mph) last month, twice as fast as lightning or 200 times the speed of a rifle bullet.
“The spacecraft entered the encounter in good health,” reported Michael Buckley of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. a post on the NASA blog‘with all systems functioning normally’.
Since the launch of the Parker probe in 2018, a team of about a dozen Johns Hopkins physicists, engineers and support staff has managed NASA’s mission, including the initial design and construction of the $1.5 billion spacecraft. Dollars.
The record-setting, ultra-fast craft has been “sending a stream of telemetry (status data)” to mission operators at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, since October 1st.
The probe’s latest speed milestone came thanks to a gravity-assisted flyby from Venuswhich is approximately 67,237,910 miles from the sun.
Parker completed that ‘Venus Flyby 6’ on August 21, meaning it traveled more than 67 million miles in just over a month.
In April 2021, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe traveled through the corona on its eighth attempt, the spacecraft passing by structures called coronal streamers (pictured). This view is only possible thanks to the spacecraft’s ability to go above and below the streamers within the corona.
In April 2021, the Parker Solar Probe battled temperatures of 2,370°F and radiation 500 times stronger than Earth’s on its first confirmed pass through the sun’s upper atmosphere.
Due to the sun’s lack of a solid surface, the corona is where the action takes place; Exploring this magnetically intense region up close can help scientists better understand solar flares that can interfere with life here on Earth.
“Parker Solar Probe’s ‘touching the Sun’ is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said that year, celebrating the eighth solar flyby. of the probe.
“This milestone not only gives us deeper insights into the evolution of our Sun and its impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe.”
Having completed its 17th ‘solar rendezvous’, Parker has seven more survey orbits of the Sun planned by her mission scientists back home until the end of 2024.
Its final act after those passes will be an increasingly invasive curve into the sun’s atmosphere, recording data on the solar winds until the probe vaporizes in the heat.
In its final moments, the Parker solar probe will become part of the solar wind itself, a “a kind of poetic ending,” as one mission researcher, space plasma physicist David Malaspina, said. popular science.
WHAT IS NASA’S PARKER SOLAR PROBE?
The Parker Solar Probe traveled seven times closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP) will travel seven times closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft at the end of its mission.
It launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on August 12, 2018.
The probe flew into the Sun’s outer atmosphere to study the life of stars and their meteorological phenomena.
It is hoped Parker can help scientists better understand solar flares – brief bursts of intense, high-energy radiation from the sun’s surface that can disrupt communications on Earth.
Over the next few years, the probe will continue to make new discoveries as it approaches the sun, eventually reaching its closest approach in 2024, when it flies 3.9 million miles above the solar surface.
The spacecraft faces extremes of heat and radiation and will reach speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour (700,000 kph) on its closest flyby of the star.
The spacecraft’s kit includes a white-light imager called Whisper, which will take images of solar waves as the spacecraft passes through them at high speeds.
To measure the “massive plasma” of solar winds, described by NASA as the “bread and butter” of flares, a suite of magnetic imaging equipment will also be stored on board.