Parker Solar Probe Is Alive After Closer Encounter With The Sun

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 10, 2018

"Parker Solar Probe was created to take care of itself and its precious payload during this close approach, with no control from us on Earth - and now we know it succeeded", NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement.

"Parker Solar Probe was created to take care of itself and its precious payload during this close approach, with no control from us on Earth - and now we know it succeeded", Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. Its speed topped 213,000 miles per hour (342,000 kph) relative to the sun, as it penetrated the outer solar atmosphere, or corona.

The Parker Solar Probe is a spacecraft created to give humans an unprecedented observation of the Sun. The observations could unlock some of the sun's mysteries.

This temperature will climb up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius) as the spacecraft makes closer approaches to the Sun - but all the while, the spacecraft instruments and systems that are protected by the heat shield are generally kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). The next is in April. The spacecraft was subjected to intense heat and radiation during its first "closest approach", something it handled without issue.

On November 7, mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab received the status beacon from the spacecraft at 4:46 p.m. (EST). The Parker Solar Probe made its closest approach to the Sun on November 5; data sent back to scientists on Earth indicates it survived the event in excellent condition.

At its closest approach on November 5, called perihelion, Parker Solar Probe reached a top speed of 213,200 miles per hour, setting a new record for spacecraft speed. "Now, we have realized humanity's first close visit to our star, which will have implications not just here on Earth, but for a deeper understanding of our universe", said Thomas Zurbuchen from the NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "It will be several weeks after the end of the solar encounter phase before the science data begins downlinking to Earth", said NASA. After breaking a bunch of records last week for its distance from the Sun and the speed at which it was traveling, the probe began the week by making the first of its two dozen planned flybys of the star.

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