And the probe named for Parker - first launched in August 2018 - is collecting data on solar activity in order to help scientists predict space-weather events that will impact humans.
Parker set its first record on Monday by becoming the closest spacecraft to the sun when it broke the previous record of 26.55 million miles (42.7 million kilometers) from the sun's surface set by the Helios 2 spacecraft in 1976.
It is expected that in 2024, probe Parker will approach the Sun at a distance of about 5 million km.
"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", Andy Driesman, the project manager for the probe with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement. Parker Solar Probe's speed and position were calculated using DSN measurements made on October 24, and the team used that information along with known orbital forces to calculate the spacecraft's speed and position from that point on.At its current distance to the Sun, the probe requires 150 days to make a complete orbit. It broke the record set by the Helios 2 probe in 1976. "The team proud, but we continue to focus on our first contact with the Sun, which starts on 31 October".
Kepler, the little NASA spacecraft that could, no longer can
The final commands have been sent, and the spacecraft will remain a safe distance from Earth to avoid colliding with our planet. The engineers essentially rebooted the mission, devising a way to allow Kepler to survey new parts of the sky every few months.
The Parker Solar Probe will begin its first solar encounter today, continuing to fly closer and closer to the sun's surface until it reaches its first perihelion-the name for the point where it is closest to the sun-at approximately 10:28 p.m. on November 5, at a distance of about 15 million miles from the sun. The Parker Solar probe flew 26.55 million miles away from the surface of the star on Monday afternoon EDT. Parker conceived the idea of solar wind phenomena, according to NASA. At about 10:54 p.m. EDT, #ParkerSolarProbe surpassed 153,454 miles per... Recently, astronomers have revealed the first photo of the Sun from a space probe.
During the solar encounter phase, Parker Solar Probe's four instrument suites measure the properties of material directly within the Sun's outer atmosphere. Over the next six years, the probe's orbital length will gradually shrink, allowing it to get closer to the Sun.
Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers).