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.