The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) Parker Solar probe has successfully completed its second approach to the Sun.
The maneuver, called a perihelion, resulted in the closest approach at 6:40 p.m. EDT (2240 GMT) yesterday when the Parker Solar Probe was about 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) above the surface of the sun. That’s about the same distance as the spacecraft reached on Nov. 5, 2018, during its first perihelion.
Parker Solar Probe was travelling at 2,13,200 mph during this perihelion and is now entering the outbound phase of its second solar orbit, Nasa said in a statement on April 5.
“The spacecraft is performing as designed, and it was great to be able to track it during this entire perihelion,” Nickalaus Pinkine, Parker Solar Probe mission operations manager at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Maryland, said.
“We’re looking forward to getting the science data down from this encounter in the coming weeks so the science teams can continue to explore the mysteries of the corona and the Sun,” Pinkine added.
NASA designed the probe to protect its fragile internal instruments from the harsh conditions and deflect most of the sun’s heat.
The spacecraft will conduct another perihelion on Sept. 1 and then use Venus’ gravity to adjust its path.