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This leads us to another of the Parker Solar Probe's records, broken on Monday 29 October at 6:04 p.m GMT/UTC (1:04 p.m. EDT): Closest approach to the sun.

The earth's average distance from the sun is 93 million miles.

Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just six million kilometres.

Not content with just being the closest ever probe to the Sun, NASA expected the spacecraft to break a speed record on Tuesday night as well. Like the Parker Solar Probe, Helios 2 was a probe sent into solar (heliocentric) orbit to study the processes on the Sun.

The Parker Solar Probe beat the previously held solar proximity record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun, set by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft back in April 1976, on Monday.

During its mission, the probe will dip in and out of orbit around the Sun reaching within 3.83 million miles of its scorching surface. The Parker Solar Probe is expected to best that today as well, reaching higher speeds at about 10:54 p.m. EDT (0254 GMT on October 30), NASA officials said. It is expected to arrive at the Sun in November.

Driver charged in crash at school bus stop that killed 3 siblings
All of the children attended Mentone Elementary school in nearby Mentone, Indiana, where Alivia made the honor roll in January. He said investigators interviewed her, but he declined to disclose what she said about the crash.

In August, the Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Earth aboard a Delta IV Heavy booster.

To withstand the heat of almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the probe is protected by a special 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield. This is seven times closer than the previous closest spacecraft, Helios 2, which came within 27 million miles of the Sun in 1976.

On October 31, the day of Halloween, NASA will begin its first so-called solar encounter with the burning star.

The spacecraft will face brutal heat and radiation conditions while providing humanity with unprecedentedly close-up observations of a star and helping us understand phenomena that have puzzled scientists for decades, according to the U.S. space agency.

Over the next 11 days the Parker Solar Probe will endure temperatures of 1,377 C (2,500 F) to gather a vast trove of data on the behaviour of our parent star, measuring heat currents on the surface and investigating the origins of the stream of charged particles known as the solar wind.


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