The Parker Solar Probe: NASA’s Fastest and Hottest Spacecraft
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is a remarkable space probe with the mission to approach and study the outer corona of the Sun. One of the most striking features of this spacecraft is its incredible speed, which increases over the years.
In 2018, shortly after its launch, the Parker Solar Probe became the fastest human-made object ever built. By 2025, it will reach an astonishing speed of 690,000 kilometers per hour, which is approximately 0.064% of the speed of light. To put this into perspective, it would practically travel from Washington to San Francisco in just 20 seconds.
In addition to its incredible speed, the probe also has to withstand the intense heat emitted by the Sun. With temperatures reaching an average of 1,400 degrees, the Parker Solar Probe is equipped with a heat shield that keeps its interior at a cool 30 degrees.
On September 27, 2023, the Parker Solar Probe reached a record distance of 7.26 million kilometers from the Sun, the closest point ever reached by human technology. This historic achievement makes it the first mission to reach the corona, and the unprecedented data collected will help scientists better understand solar eruptions and their potential impact on Earth. It will also provide valuable insights into the solar wind, particle flux, and radiation emitted by the Sun.
The Parker Solar Probe represents an incredible feat of human engineering and scientific advancement, and its groundbreaking discoveries will undoubtedly pave the way for further research and exploration of our solar system.
Stefano Piri – Digital Managing Editor
Vito De Biasi – Digital Content Editor