NASA's Park Solar Probe, a spacecraft designed to monitor and observe our local star, is scheduled to make a milestone pass of the Sun late next year, marking a monumental achievement for humanity.
The space probe is designed to collect valuable data about our Sun, such as solar weather, solar patterns, star evolution, and much more. Notably, the Parker Solar Probe is the fastest human-made object, and with every pass it makes of our local star, it gains speed, breaking its previous record. Last September, the Parker Solar Probe reached 394,736 mph (635,266 km/h), breaking its previous record of 364,660 mph (586,863 kmh).
On December 24, the Parker Solar Probe will pass the Sun at 435,000 mph, at a distance of just 3.8 million miles from the Sun's "surface". According to Parker project scientist Dr. Nour Raouafi, "We are basically almost landing on a star." The incredible speed of the Parker Solar Probe can be attributed to the intense gravitational pull of the Sun, and for a quick comparison of the speed, NASA's Sun probe would be moving so fast it would be similar to traveling from New York to London in under 30 seconds.
"This will be a monumental achievement for all humanity. This is equivalent to the Moon landing of 1969," said Dr. Nour Raouafi, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory scientist, to the BBC News.
As it makes its closest approach to the Sun, the front of the spacecraft will reach temperatures of 2,552 F.
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