On Wednesday, the probe’s status beacon beamed back an “A” — the best of the four possible status updates — suggesting Parker is operating well. Even if there were any issues, the probe fixed them autonomously, while in space, travelling at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour.
The probe’s perihelion, or the point in orbit where it’s closest to the sun, came on Nov. 5, where it reached a top speed of 213,200 miles per hour — fast enough to get it from New York to Boston in 3.7 seconds. At its current distance of around 15 million miles from the sun’s “surface”, the probe’sprotected it from temperatures reaching 820 degrees Fahrenheit. By the end of the mission, the shield will be exposed to temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Parker, now a, will continue to collect data until Nov. 11, the end of its first “solar encounter phase” which began on Oct. 31.
After the retirement of, and , it’s nice to get a wholly positive update from our interplanetary space robots. Parker’s mission will bring it back within 15 million miles of the sun on April 4, 2019 as it continues its seven-year mission to get ever closer to our star.
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