By May 6, 2019, Parker had sent back a total of 22 GB of data, 50 percent more than NASA scientists were expecting by that point. And additional 25 GB should be fully downloaded by August 15.
“All of the expected science data collected through the first and second encounters is now on the ground,” said in a statement Nickalaus Pinkine, Parker Solar Probe mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, who helped put the spacecraft together.
Scientists are currently in the process of analyzing what they got. The instruments of the probe should have collected info about “particles, waves, and fields related to the Sun’s corona and the solar environment.”
“As we learned more about operating in this environment and these orbits, the team did a great job of increasing data downloads of the information gathered by the spacecraft’s amazing instruments,” Pinkine added.
More details on the finding will be announced in the coming months.
The Parker Solar Probe is the spacecraft that ever came this close to the Sun, reaching a distance of about 15 million miles from the star (24 million km).
The third encounter with the Sun is scheduled to begin on August 27, and the ship will reach the closest point on September 1.
The Parker Solar Probe is part of the NASA Living with a Star Program (or LWS), meant to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society.