Matching its own records for speed and distance to the Sun, NASA's Parker Solar Probe completed its 12th close approach to the Sun on June 1, coming within 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers) of the solar surface.
The close approach (known as perihelion) occurred at 6:50 p.m. EDT (10:50 p.m. UTC), with Parker Solar Probe moving about 364,660 miles per hour (586,864 kilometers per hour) -- fast enough to cover the distance between Los Angeles and London in under a minute. The milestone also marked the midway point in the mission’s 12th solar encounter, which began May 27 and continues through June 7.
The spacecraft entered the encounter in good health, with all systems operating normally. Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to check back in with mission operators at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland – where it was also designed and built – on June 4.