NASA's Parker Solar Probe swinging by Venus on way to sun

October 2, 2018 by Marcia Dunn
NASA's Parker Solar Probe swinging by Venus on way to sun
This illustration from NASA shows the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. Launched in August 2018, the spacecraft will get a gravity assist Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, as it passes within 1,500 miles of Venus. The flyby is the first of seven that will draw Parker ever closer to the sun. (Steve Gribben/Johns Hopkins APL/NASA via AP)

NASA's Parker Solar Probe is swinging by Venus on its unprecedented journey to the sun.

Launched in August, the spacecraft gets a gravity assist Wednesday as it passes within 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) of Venus. The flyby is the first of seven that will draw Parker ever closer to the sun.

By the end of October, Parker will shatter the current record for close solar encounters, set by a NASA spacecraft in 1976 from 27 million miles (43 million kilometers) out. Parker will get within 15 million miles (25 million kilometers) of the sun's surface in November. Twenty-four such orbits—dipping into the sun's , or corona—are planned over the next seven years. The gap will eventually shrink to 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers).

Explore further: NASA sending spacecraft straight into sun's glittering crown

Related Stories

'Wow, here we go': NASA spacecraft hurtles toward the sun

August 12, 2018

Embarking on a mission that scientists have been dreaming of since the Sputnik era, a NASA spacecraft hurtled Sunday toward the sun on a quest to unlock some of its mysteries by getting closer than any object sent before.

Ready for its day in the sun—the SWEAP investigation

August 8, 2018

When NASA's Parker Solar Probe launches into space from the Kennedy Space Center, it will begin its journey to the Sun, our nearest star. The Parker Solar Probe will travel almost 90 million miles and eventually enter through ...

Recommended for you

Researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

February 21, 2019

JILA researchers have made a long-lived, record-cold gas of molecules that follow the wave patterns of quantum mechanics instead of the strictly particle nature of ordinary classical physics. The creation of this gas boosts ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.