Solar Probe 'alive' after being closest ever to Sun

Members of the Parker Solar Probe mission team celebrate on Nov. 7 2018 after receiving a beacon indicating the spacecraft is in good health following its first perihelion

Mission controllers received the status beacon from the spacecraft at 4:46 p.m. EST on November 7, 2018.

Parker Solar Probe, NASA's historic mission to solve the mysteries of the Sun is now just within 15 million miles of the surface of the star.

How did the Parker Solar Probe's journey of 90 million miles begin?

The received signal indicates that the Parker Solar Probe operates normally and all of his tools work and collect data.

The agency gladly stated that this is far closer than any spacecraft has ever gone, as in 1976 Helios B set a record, which was broken by Parker on October 29.

During perihelion, the spacecraft reached a top speed of 213,200 mph (343,100 km per hour) relative to the Sun, setting a new record for spacecraft speed. In September it had already delivered its First Light image and now, just over three months after its departure, the probe got close and personal with the Sun on November 5th.

"Parker Solar Probe was created to take care of itself and its precious payload during this close approach, with no control from us on Earth - and now we know it succeeded", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency headquarters in Washington. During its perihelion (closest pass), the Thermal Protection System registered a temperature of 820 degrees Fahrenheit.

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According to NASA, members of the Parker Solar Probe mission team celebrated after hearing the spacecraft was operating in good health again following its first perihelion (its closest approach). If the spacecraft encountered any issues during the approach, it had managed to fix them autonomously.

"Parker Solar Probe was created to take care of itself and its precious payload during this close approach, with no control from us on Earth - and now we know it succeeded", said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

To keep working and not burn up, Parker must always keep its heat shield pointed at the Sun. After breaking a bunch of records last week for its distance from the Sun and the speed at which it was traveling, the probe began the week by making the first of its two dozen planned flybys of the star.

The first phase of convergence will end on 11 November and a few weeks later, the probe will transmit to Earth science data, reports newsone with reference to the Inverse.

Using data whose transmission between the earth and the probe takes about 30 minutes, the researchers seek to better understand space weather, such as solar winds.

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