It's a moment we heard from Parker Solar, the NASA probe was most likely to end up being a blistering piece of molten metal. An update from the space agency suggests that now all systems are coming to a probe called Sun, which recently launched its second of 24 planned star-shaped orbits.
Parker Solar Probe completed its first orbital journey around the Sun and reached its point, the longest orbital distance from our star, January 19, 2019, NASA reported. Once again, it moves toward the target, the probe expects to reach its closest perihelion, the closest point to the Sun along the orbital path, April 4, 2019.
Parker Solar Pro has reached this milestone 161 days in missions and seems to be expanding.
"It was an enlivening and fascinating first orbit," said Andy Driesman, Parker Solar Probe project manager. "We learned a lot about how the spacecraft is working and responding to the solar environment, and I'm proud of the fact that the team's projections are very accurate."
The probe is currently transmitting data to Earth using the NASA Deep Space Network, a series of ground-based antennas and remote devices designed to support spacecraft missions. The current probe has transmitted 17 gigabits of rare scientific data to Earth, NASA said, but until April, all of its first residence around the Sun will not be taken back home. The spacecraft collects unprecedented data with a set of tools – data to help scientists learn more about the sun's corona, and how stellar star-shaped particles and stars produced by the universe are moving at high speed.
Project scientist Nour Raouafi said the data gathered suggest "many new things we have not seen before and potential new discoveries." Parker Solar Probe stated in his statement that "he fulfills the mission promise revealing the mystery of our Sun."
Another important milestone came several weeks before the aphelion, when Parker entered his full operational state, or phase E, the New Year. All probe systems are now online and work according to specifications, NASA reported.
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Parker team can now set up its site on the April Perihelion when the probe will move around the Sun at a distance of 24.1 million kilometers (15 million kilometers), creating a new record for the human object. October 29, 2018, Parker set a record distance when it reached 42.7 million kilometers of Sun's surface, crushing the old record held by the Helios 2 probe. The nearest probe distance is expected in June 2025, when it will be about 6.60 million kilometers from the Sun. Parker will need about 88 days to get in orbit around the star and move at about 430,000 miles per hour – fast enough to get out of Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., for one second.
When preparing for the April Perihelion, mission managers make storage by removing files that have already been transmitted to Earth and sending updated positional and navigation information, including an automated sequence of commands that should keep the probe for approximately one month.
Godspeed on your second trip around the Sun, Parker![NASA]