Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe is a NASA space probe launched in 2018 with the mission of making observations of the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach to within 9.86 solar radii from the center of the Sun, and by 2025 will travel, at closest approach, as fast as 690,000 km/h, or 0.064% the speed of light.

A memory card containing the names of over 1.1 million people was mounted on a plaque and installed below the spacecraft’s high-gain antenna on 18 May 2018. The card also contains photos of the probe’s namesake, physicist Eugene Newman Parker and a copy of his 1958 scientific paper predicting important aspects of solar physics.

On 29 October 2018, at about 18:04 UTC, the spacecraft became the closest ever artificial object to the Sun. As of its perihelion 29 April 2021, the Parker Solar Probe’s closest approach is 10.5 million kilometres (6.5 million miles). This will be surpassed after each successive flyby of Venus.