NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever gotten.
Parker on Monday surpassed the record of 26.6 million miles (43 million kilometers) set by Helios-2 back in 1976. And it will keep getting closer to the sun until it flies through the corona, or outer atmosphere, for the first time next week, passing within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the solar surface.
Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers).
Launched in August, Parker is on track to set another record late Monday night. It will surpass Helios-2’s speed record of 153,454 miles per hour (247,000 kilometers per hour), relative to the sun. (VOA)
NASA has ruled that the pair of asteroids flying by Earth this weekend could pose a threat to our planet.
“These asteroids have been well observed – once since 2000 and the other since 2010 – and their orbits are very well known,” said NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson.
“Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time,” Johnson said.
Near-Earth asteroid 2010 C01, estimated to be 120 to 260 metres in size, safely passed Earth at 3.42 a.m. on Saturday. The second object, 2000 QW7 is estimated to be 290 to 650 metres in size will pass later at 11.54 p.m. on Saturday.
Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets that orbit the Sun, but their orbits bring them into Earth’s neighborhood – within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit.
These objects are relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system’s formation some 4.6 billion years ago.
Most of the rocky asteroids originally formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, while comets, composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, formed in the cold outer solar system.
At the start of 2019, the number of discovered NEOs totaled more than 19,000, and it has since surpassed 20,000. An average of 30 new discoveries are added each week, NASA said. (IANS)