The Parker Solar Probe continues to set new speed records. It's only a third of the way through its planned 24 orbits, each of which being not only closer to the Sun but faster, too!
NASA's Parker Solar Probe has started its eighth science-gathering solar encounter, putting it one-third of the way through its planned journey of 24 progressively closer loops around the Sun.
Its orbit, shaped by a gravity-assist flyby of Venus on Feb. 20, 2021, will bring the spacecraft closer to the Sun than on any previous flyby. At closest approach, called perihelion, on April 29, Parker Solar Probe will come within about 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers) of the Sun's surface, while moving faster than 330,000 miles per hour (532,000 kilometers per hour) – breaking its own records for both speed and solar proximity.
At that speed, how long do you think it would take to make a lap arond the Earth at the equator? For some perspective, imagine driving a car at 120 mph (~200 kph). Pretty quick, right? Going that fast you could lap the Earth in just over 8 days. The Parker Solar Probe would complete that same lap in under five minutes! And, it's not done yet; it's still speeding up!
What is the fastest speed you have ever traveled on Earth? How about in the air?