NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, mankind’s first mission to ‘touch’ the Sun, has set a new record for closest approach to the sun by a human-made object.
Parker Solar Probe was launched on August 12 this year on an unprecedented, seven-year long journey to unlock the mysteries of the sun’s fiery outer atmosphere and its effects on space weather.
The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the sun’s surface on October 29.
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.
The probe is also expected to break the record for fastest spacecraft travelling relative to the sun. The current record for heliocentric speed is 153,454 miles per hour, set by Helios 2 in April 1976, according to NASA.