NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, a robotic spacecraft en route to probe the outer corona of the Sun, is headed towards Venus, and expected to arrive by November 5th. It will then use the gravity of Venus to slow itself down in order to achieve the desired angle of approach to the Sun. “Parker Solar Probe is operating as designed, and we are progressing through our commissioning activities. The team – which is monitoring the spacecraft 24 hours a day, seven days a week – is observing nominal data from the systems as we bring them on-line and prepare Parker Solar Probe for its upcoming initial Venus gravity assist,” said Andy Driesman of the Applied Physics Lab explains. Continue reading for another video and more information.
“Thus far, the probe has successfully powered up some of its most vital scientific instruments and begun to loosen its grasp on some of its antennas which were secured for the launch. The spacecraft is beginning to spread its wings, so to speak, and stretched its long boom arm off of its rear section. The probe will spend the majority of the next decade making similar maneuvers as it repeatedly slingshots itself through the Sun’s atmosphere. It will get closer and closer each time, yielding scientific data that has never been within the reach of scientist before,” according to BGR.