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NASA solar probe ‘alive and well’ after first encounter with the sun

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NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

After coming nearer to the sun than another man-made object in historical past, the Parker Solar Probe is in good health, NASA studies. High fives all spherical!

On Wednesday, the probe’s standing beacon beamed again an “A” — the better of the 4 doable standing updates — suggesting Parker is working effectively. Even if there have been any points, the probe fastened them autonomously, whereas in area, travelling at a whole lot of 1000’s of miles per hour.

The probe’s perihelion, or the level in orbit the place it is closest to the sun, got here on Nov. 5, the place it reached a prime pace of 213,200 miles per hour — quick sufficient to get it from New York to Boston in three.7 seconds. At its present distance of round 15 million miles from the sun’s “surface”, the probe’s cutting-edge heat shield protected it from temperatures reaching 820 levels Fahrenheit. By the finish of the mission, the defend will likely be uncovered to temperatures of two,500 levels Fahrenheit.

Hot.

Parker, now a dual world-record holder, will proceed to gather knowledge till Nov. 11, the finish of its first “solar encounter phase” which started on Oct. 31.

After the retirement of revolutionary space telescope Keplerthe sad demise of Dawn and the grim outlook for Mars explorer Opportunity, it is good to get an entirely constructive replace from our interplanetary area robots. Parker’s mission will deliver it again inside 15 million miles of the sun on April four, 2019 because it continues its seven-year mission to get ever nearer to our star.

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