NASA Probe Gets Closest Ever to the Sun

NASA says its Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any other spacecraft in history. USA Today reports the craft moved within 26.55 million miles of the star, breaking the record set by the Helios-2 spacecraft in 1976. “It’s a proud moment for the team, though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on Oct. 31,” Andy Driesman, project manager for the probe with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a Tuesday statement. On Wednesday, the probe will begin gathering data: As The Daily Beast previously reported, the probe will attempt to determine why the corona of the sun is hotter than its surface, while also studying solar winds and high-speed particle ejections. And the probe’s record-breaking is only beginning: By 2024, it is expected to move within 3.83 million miles of the sun’s surface. “This is a mission that NASA has wanted to do since the very start of NASA,” one scientist previously told The Daily Beast. “Now we finally have the technology that we can actually do it. It’s very exciting.”