The space probe

Only 48 million km

The space probe “Solar Orbiter” reaches the point closest to the sun

Paris.The space probe “Solar Orbiter” has reached the point closest to the Sun in its journey through space, which has already taken two years. It approached the Sun at an altitude of 48 million km, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Saturday. This is less than a third of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Thus, the “solar probe” came closer to the center of the solar system than any space probe before it. The mission is expected to yield new images of the star.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The Solar Orbiter mission is worth about 1.5 billion euros, and is being carried out by the European Space Agency ESA and the US Space Agency, NASA. There are ten science instruments on board the 1.8-ton orbiter. Researchers hope to gain new insights into the sun and its magnetic field. Not only do the instruments measure electromagnetic fields and solar particles streaming around the space probe, but they can also look at the Sun itself from a very close distance for the first time.

Campfire Puzzle Pictures

As early as June 2020, the probe flew to a distance of 77 million kilometers from the Sun and took pictures of mysterious “fires” on the star. Solar Orbiter’s current elliptical orbit will change slightly over the next three years: the spacecraft will reach its closest point to the Sun every six months. During the next pass, scheduled for October, the space probe will fly within 42 million kilometers from the sun.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

RND / dpa

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