Parker Solar Probe Breaks Records as the Fastest Human-Made Object in Space

  • 14 Oct 2023

The Parker Solar Probe, a NASA spacecraft with a mission to study the Sun, has set a new speed record by hurtling through space at an incredible pace of 635,266 kilometres per hour during its 17th orbit.

Key Points

  • Astonishing Speed: To put this speed in perspective, the probe could complete approximately 15 Earth circumnavigations in just an hour and cross the entire length of India in under half a minute. It achieved this milestone only three years after its previous speed record of 586,863 kilometres per hour.
  • Gravity-Powered Journey: The Parker Solar Probe does not rely on artificial propulsion; instead, it follows a precisely planned orbit around the Sun.
  • Under the influence of the Sun's gravitational pull, it gradually spirals inward, increasing in speed.
  • By 2025, it is projected to reach a mind-boggling speed of around 690,000 kilometres per hour, equivalent to 0.064% of the speed of light.
  • Dive into the Sun: The probe is expected to make its closest approach to the Sun on its 24th and final orbit, coming within just 7.26 million kilometres of the Sun's seething surface.
  • This mission offers significant opportunities to gather vital data about our solar neighbour.
  • Advancing Solar Understanding: The Parker Solar Probe's mission extends beyond setting speed records.
  • It aims to deepen our knowledge of the Sun's behaviour, energy flow in the solar corona, solar winds, magnetism, and other crucial aspects.