CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever gotten, the Parker Solar Probe on Monday exceeded the 1976 record of 26.6 million miles set by Helios-2.
NASA expects the spacecraft to continue its approach straight into the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona, next week. This first-of-its-kind trip will occur within 15 million miles of the solar surface.
Over the course of 24 close approaches spread out over the next seven years, Parker will eventually come within just 3.8 million miles of the sun.
The probe was launched in August. NASA has not yet confirmed its report that Parker would break another just before 11 p.m. Monday night when it surpassed Helios-2’s speed record of 153,454 miles per hour, relative to the sun.