WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The United States space agency NASA announced Tuesday that its Parker Solar Probe has become the spacecraft which got closest to the Sun.
The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles (42.73 million km) from the Sun's surface on Monday, at about 1:04 p.m. EDT (1704 GMT), as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team, according to an online statement of NASA.
"It's been just 78 days since Parker Solar Probe launched, and we've now come closer to our star than any other spacecraft in history ... It's a proud moment for the team," said Andy Driesman, project manager for the mission at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
The previous record for closest solar approach was at a distance of 43.432 million km, set by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft in April 1976.
The Parker Solar Probe will begin its first solar encounter on Wednesday, and will continue flying closer until it reaches the point closest to the Sun on Nov. 5.
According to NASA, Parker's heat shield is made of a 4.5-inch (11.43-cm) thick carbon composite foam material between two carbon fiber face sheets.
The spacecraft blasted off on Aug. 12 on humans' first close visit to a star and is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the Sun.