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03 November 2018, 02:35 | Justin Tyler
Enlarge Image This illustration shows the probe nearing the sun. NASA Johns Hopkins APL Steve Gribben
NASA'sParker Solar Probe, which launched earlier this year, has set a new record for becoming the closest human-made object to the Sun, the United States space agency announced Monday.
According to NASA, as of 1:04 p.m. EDT on the 29th, the probe is now closer than 42.73 million km (26.55 million miles) from the Sun.
"It's only been 78 days since the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, and we approached our star closer than any other spacecraft in history, said project Manager Andy Driesman of the applied physics laboratory of Johns Hopkins in Maryland". Automatic probe name Eugene Parker broke the record approaches the Sun set with other spacecraft. The current record for heliocentric speed is 153,454 miles per hour, set by Helios 2 in April 1976.
"It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on October 31", Driesman said.
At that speed, it will break all speed records, in all of the solar system, even surpassing NASA Juno's speed of 265,000 km/h, as it made its closest pass around Jupiter, in July of 2016.
As the probe makes it ever-closer shaves of the Sun, it will study our star in ways never before possible.
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).
The probe will begin it's first encounter with the Sun on Wednesday, culminating with its perihelion, or closest point to the Sun, at about 10:28 p.m. EST on Monday.
Parker's first close encounter with the Sun is scheduled for October 31. The Probe measures its own speed and position, the Deep Space Network or DSN then retrieves that data before sending it to NASA ground control.
The spacecraft will face brutal heat and radiation while providing unprecedented, close-up observations of a star and helping us understand phenomena that have puzzled scientists for decades.
For several days around the November 5 perihelion, Parker Solar Probe will be completely out of contact with Earth because of interference from the Sun's overwhelming radio emissions.
The mission is expected to revolutionize scientific understanding of the sun and its role in how it affects the Earth and the solar system.
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