Executive Intelligence Review


NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Sets New Records, on Its Way to Closest Approach to the Sun

Oct. 30, 2018 (EIRNS)—NASA’s Parker Solar Probe on Oct. 29 set a record for the closest approach to the Sun of any spacecraft. That record had been held by the German-American Helios 2 probe, which came within 26.55 million miles of the Sun in April 1976. Yesterday, at 1:04 p.m. EDT (17:04 UTC), the Parker Solar Probe crossed past that point, setting the record for proximity to the Sun. Also on Oct. 29, the probe surpassed the record for speed that Helios set of 153,454 miles per hour, as it was pulled toward the Sun by its enormous gravity. According to NASA, the Parker Solar Probe passed that speed yesterday at 10:54 p.m. (02:54 UTC Oct. 30). Eventually the Sun’s gravity will accelerate the probe to about 430,000 mph, NASA officials have reported.

The probe will make 24 close fly-bys of the Sun over the next seven years. The closest of those approaches is coming on Nov. 5, with encounter starting on Oct. 31.