UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) – The NASA probe, launched to the Sun this August, completed its first fly-around of Venus.
Solar probe “Parker” flew 2.4 thousand kilometers from Venus on October 3. As stated in NASA, it will help to adjust the flight path of the device and give it a gravitational acceleration.
This means that the spacecraft is heading towards the Sun, to which it should approach on October 31. Near the star, he will spend 12 days – until November 11. Parker will collect valuable data on the structure of the Sun, its composition and activity.
The probe, launched on August 12, has to accomplish many more similar approaches. A total of 24 flybys of the Sun are planned in seven years. Also, the unit will fly around Venus six more times – this will help narrow the orbit of “Parker” so that it can eventually approach the star.
Last rapprochement with the Sun is scheduled for 2025. The probe will have to fly just 6.16 million kilometers from the surface of the star. To understand how close it is, one should pay attention to the current record – 27 million kilometers. It was at such a distance from the star that the German-American mission Helios in 1976 flew by. Already this month, Parker will beat their record.
According to NASA, the data obtained during the mission should significantly help improve the understanding of the sun and space weather. For example, the Parker solar probe will help to solve two old solar riddles: why the sun’s external atmosphere — the solar corona — is so hot its surface and how exactly the charged particles that make up the solar wind are accelerated to incredible speeds.