The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe on August 12, 2018. Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

The Parker Solar Probe has broken the record for the closest a human-made object has ever come to the sun, passing the 16.55 million mile marker at 1:04 p.m., according to a release by NASA.

The backdrop: Later this evening, the probe is expected to also break the record for the fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun — faster than 153,454 miles per hour. Both records had been held since 1976 by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft. “It’s a proud moment for the team," Project Manager Andy Driesman, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland told NASA, "though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on Oct. 31.” The goal of the Parker Solar Probe is to shed insight on the inner workings of our closest star.

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Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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