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Will Parker Solar Probe touch the sun?

Will Parker Solar Probe touch the sun?

By daniele

For the first time, a spaceship touched the Sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe flew over the corona, the upper atmosphere of the Sun, and collected particles and magnetic fields there.

This new milestone is a major step for Parker Solar Probe and a leap forward for solar science. Just as landing on the Moon allowed us to know how the Moon was formed, knowing what the Sun is made of will help us reveal important information about the star and its impact on the solar system.

  • “The Parker Solar Probe’s exposure to the sun is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly amazing achievement,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Deputy Director of Science Mission at NASA headquarters in Washington. 
  • “This milestone gives us a deeper insight into the evolution of the Sun and its impact on the solar system, and the learning of our stars tells us about other stars in the Universe.
  • As has been widely reported, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has become the first “sun-touching” spacecraft ever. However, this probe has been in the solar corona for a long time and has not reached the Sun’s light sphere and will never reach it. 
  • But we’ve crossed a critical boundary and reached a critical milestone. See why magnetic switchbacks and Alveen points are so important.

The Sun, the main source of heat, energy, and light on our planet, has been out of reach in human history. In 1976, the spacecraft Helios II moved within 43 million km (27 million miles) of the Sun: less than a third of the distance between the Earth and the Sun and slightly closer to the inside of the Mercury orbit, setting a record that lasted more than 40 years. However, in August 2018, scientists supporting the Parker Solar Probe at NASA dared to break the record and approach the Sun much closer than before.

How do we approach them?

We Earth orbit around the Sun but always keep the same distance from the Sun. This orbit is not a circle but an ellipse, and there is an important balance.