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NASA’s solar probe passes over Venus and breaks two wild space records, again

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Record holder.


Right now, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, a tiny, burn-proof spacecraft the size of a small car, is practically “touching the sun”. And he broke two wild records, dethroning the previous champion, who also happened to be NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.

The sample, which was launched in August 2018 on a mission to study the sun, has been flying closer and closer to the furnace of our solar system using the planet Venus as a slingshot. On April 29, during its closest approach to the sun (known as “perihelion”), Parker was traveling at almost unfathomable speed, enough to circle the Earth 13 times in a single hour.

Parker set two new records in February 2020:

  • Fastest human-made object: 244,255 mph (393,044 km / h).
  • Closest spacecraft to the sun: 11.6 million miles (18.6 million kilometers).

But those records have now been broken. The new records are at:

  • Fastest human-made object: 330,000 mph (532,000 km / h).
  • Closest spacecraft to the sun: 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers).

Those are some solid records to keep and this isn’t the end either. Parker should break his own record later in the year when he uses another flyby of Venus to get closer to the sun. Perihelion is expected to occur on November 21.

Parker is already revealing some of the great mysteries of the sun. In December 2019, Parker’s first batch of data was published in the prestigious journal Nature., removing the (incredibly bright) curtain of charged particles and plasma dynamics in the sun’s outer atmosphere.

Follow CNET’s 2021 space calendar to stay up to date with the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.

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