The Parker Solar Probe is expected to be a legendary mission. Its role is to bring more information about the sun, and it appears that it will manage to succeed. Recently it was announced that the probe managed to get 24 million km close to the sun, which is more than any other probe has managed.
“Parker Solar Probe was designed 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. declared.
The Parker Solar Probe has reported being in excellent condition and it continues to collect data and send it back home. The spacecraft managed to set a speed record when it approached the sun. Its speed reached 343,112 km/h.
“Parker is the culmination of six decades of scientific progress. 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,” Zurbuchen added.
Back in April 1976 a German-American mission attempted to reach the sun as well. Helios 2 set a speed record as well, reaching 246.960 km/h, and it also got closer to the sun than ever, within 42.73 million km of the star.
It appears that the Parker Solar Probe aims to break all those records, and it is supposed to continue to do that over the following seven years. There will be 23 solar “visits” and the probe will attempt to get closer and closer to the sun each time. In 2025 it is expected to get within 6.16 million km of the sun’s surface.