Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun’s surface on Oct. 29, 2018, at about 1:04 p.m. EDT, as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team.
The Sun contains 99.8 percent of the mass in our solar system. Its gravitational pull is what keeps everything here, from tiny Mercury to the gas giants to the Oort Cloud, 186 billion miles away.
NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
The launch of Parker Solar Probe, the mission that will get closer to the Sun than any human-made object has ever gone, is quickly approaching, and on June 27, 2018, Parker Solar Probe’s heat shield — called the Thermal Protection System, or TPS — was installed on the spacecraft.
United Launch Alliance Delta Heavy rocket, carrying the Parker Solar Probe, is scheduled to liftoff on August 4 from Cape Canaveral and will carry humanity’s first mission to the sun.