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For the first time, a NASA craft ‘touches’ the sun’s atmosphere.

A NASA spacecraft has officially “touched” the sun, plunging through the solar atmosphere’s unexplored , according to the agency.

The announcement was made during a meeting of the Geophysical Union, which took place on Tuesday.

When the Parker Solar Probe made its close approach to the sun in April, it actually flew through the corona of the sun. said it took several months to the data and then several more months to confirm the findings.

According to project scientist Nour Raouafi of Hopkins University, the research is “fascinatingly exciting.”

In 2018, when Parker first crossed the jagged, uneven boundary between the solar atmosphere and outgoing solar , it was 8 million miles (13 million kilometers) away from the sun’s . Parker was the first spacecraft to do so. In total, according to scientists, the spacecraft passed in and out of the corona at least three times, with each transition appearing to be smooth.

We were below ground for approximately five hours the first and most … “You might think that five hours doesn’t seem like a long time,” Kasper, a University of Michigan professor, said to reporters. Parker, on the other hand, was moving so quickly that he covered a significant distance in such a short period of time, tearing along at more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) per second.

Raouafi that the corona appeared dustier than he had anticipated. Future coronal excursions, according to him, will scientists in their efforts to better understand the origin of the solar wind, as well as how it is heated and accelerated as it travels through space. Considering that the sun does not have a solid surface, the corona is where the action is; studying this magnetically intense region up close can scientists in better understanding solar outbursts that have the to interfere with life on Earth.

Parker may have entered the corona during its ninth close approach in August, according to preliminary data, but scientists say more research is needed. It made its tenth close approach to the finish line last month.

Parker will continue to get closer to the sun and dive deeper into the corona until it its final orbit in 2025, at which point it will be destroyed.

The American Physical Society has also published a on the most recent findings.

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