Curated Article

NASA breaks the “Closest to the Sun” record.

Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object.

Editorial Comment

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Science is breaking records all the time, so it isn’t surprising that most go unnoticed by the masses at large, given the quantity of information daily joining the body of human knowledge, and the Guinness book. By the time I am writing this commentary, the Parker probe will also have broken the “Fastest man-made object relative to the sun” record as well. The probe will provide scientist with more data about our star in an attempt to better understand its processes. Like all science, I have no doubt each answer will generate six new questions.

Go Parker. Of course, it is a redundant record as the thing will be breaking it every day for the next six years.

Parker Solar Probe Breaks Record, Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Sun

The Parker Solar Probe became the closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun on Oct. 29, 2018, when it passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface.
Photo Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun’s surface on Oct. 29, 2018, at about 1:04 p.m. EDT, as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team.


“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,” said Project Manager Andy Driesman, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. “It’s a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on Oct. 31.”

The previous record for closest solar approach was set by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft in April 1976. As the Parker Solar Probe mission progresses, the spacecraft will repeatedly break its own records, with a final close approach of 3.83 million miles from the Sun’s surface expected in 2024.


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