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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Nasa spacecraft breaks record for coming closest to Sun

Parker Solar Probe launched in August on a mission to protect Earth by unveiling the mysteries of solar storms

A Nasa photo shows the view from the Parker Solar Probe of Earth (the bright sphere near the middle of the right-hand panel)
A Nasa photo shows the view from the Parker Solar Probe of Earth (the bright sphere near the middle of the right-hand panel)

Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe, which launched earlier this year, has set a new record for becoming the closest human-made object to the Sun, the US space agency announced on Monday.

“The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles (42.73 million kilometres) from the Sun's surface on October 29, 2018, at about 1.04pm EDT (1704 GMT),” said a Nasa statement.

“The previous record for closest solar approach was set by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft in April 1976.”

The $1.5 billion unmanned spacecraft launched in August, on a strategic mission to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of dangerous solar storms.

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Its goal is to make a series of 24 flybys past our scorching star.

Another record is in sight for the Parker Solar Probe.

Parker's first close encounter with the Sun is scheduled for October 31.

Its final close approach – coming just 6.1 million km from the Sun's surface – is expected in 2024, NASA said.