NASA’s Perseverance rover isn’t the only mission making headlines this week. According to scientists, the Parker Solar Probe has officially touched the sun for the first time.
The solar probe has come close to the sun several times over the past few months, but had yet to be successful. According to researchers, the Parker Probe’s ability to sense conditions in the corona, the magnetically dominated layer of the solar atmosphere, is what allowed it to finally make contact. The probe is equipped with a camera, a probe, tools to measure the corona’s electromagnetic fields, and a protective heat shield.
“Parker Solar Probe ‘touching the sun’ is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat,” said associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen. The probe will take 14 more trips to the sun and cover 3.8 million more miles before it’s officially retired in 2025.
The probe’s main scientific goal was to figure out where solar winds originate from. This data has allowed researchers to confirm that these winds do indeed originate right at the surface of the sun.