Special Coverage

Podcast: Exciting First Results from the NASA Parker Solar Probe

NASA Parker Solar Probe illustration. Credit: NASA.

In our second SpaceQ podcast episode of our annual Winter Series we’re featuring NASA’s teleconference with the first results from the Parker Solar Probe.

Our annual Winter Series podcast special runs for three weeks during the holidays and features important news updates or talks on topics we think you’ll find interesting from other creators. Our regular interviews will resume on January 14th.

On the final three orbits, Parker Solar Probe will fly to within 3.9 million miles (6.2 million kilometers) of the Sun’s surface—more than seven times closer than the current record holder for a close solar pass, the Helios 2 spacecraft, which came within 27 million miles (43 million kilometers) in 1976.
On the final three orbits, Parker Solar Probe will fly to within 3.9 million miles (6.2 million kilometers) of the Sun’s surface—more than seven times closer than the current record holder for a close solar pass, the Helios 2 spacecraft, which came within 27 million miles (43 million kilometers) in 1976. Credit: NASA JPL.

On December 4th NASA announced the first results from the Parker Solar Probe mission. The mission is a first of its kind with the probe flying closer to the sun than any other spacecraft before. It’s a risky mission, but with rich scientific rewards expected. And in this news conference, the principal investigators confirm some long thought theories about our star, but also reveal some new mysteries.

The seven year mission continues, and just five days ago the spacecraft successfully completed its second flyby of Venus. NASA says the spacecraft used Venus to slow itself down, approaching the planet at a distance of about 3,009 km (1,870 miles) from Venus’s surface during the second gravity assist of the mission. This gravity assist maneuver adjusted Parker Solar Probe’s trajectory to set it up for its fourth orbit around the Sun, or perihelion, which will occur on January 29.

Listen in.

Panelists and timeline:

0:00 – Introduction

2:52 – Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington

5:16 – Stuart Bale, principal investigator of the FIELDS instrument at the University of California, Berkeley

9:21 – Justin Kasper, principal investigator of the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) instrument at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

15:19 – Russ Howard, principal investigator of the Wide-Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) instrument at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington

21:04 – David McComas, principal investigator of the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISOIS) instrument at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

28:04 – Questions and Answers

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About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.