Solar probe mission launched in 2018Parker Solar Probe has provided terrestrial science with a wealth of valuable information about our Sun, as well as the second planet of our system, Venus. The probe has already set several records, flying the closest distance to the Sun (18.6 million km), reaching the fastest speed (532,000 km / h) for man-made objects and providing astronomers with new detailed photographs of Venus. The spacecraft continues its fruitful work and continuously transmits new information about the Sun and Venus to NASA scientists.
Parker is now in its eighth circumnavigation of the Sun and inpasses over Venus for the third time. On July 11, 2020, the probe flew at a record low altitude above the surface of Venus, not exceeding 833 km. Given the somewhat faded interest in the study of Venus in comparison with Mars, in recent decades, mankind has had scant information about the second planet from the Sun. Passing at a record low altitude above the surface of Venus, the Parker apparatus, according to scientists, was able to penetrate the ionosphere and received the first data in many years directly from the planet's orbit.
The study of Venus is hampered by the hightemperatures on the planet, and photographs from orbit will not bring much benefit, since the planet's surface is hidden by dense clouds. However, on July 11, the Parker probe recorded an unusual low-frequency radio signal naturally generated by the planetary ionosphere for 7 minutes.
Similar signals were recorded atthe passage of the NASA Galileo automatic station through the ionosphere of Jupiter's satellites. The ionosphere also formed around Mars and Earth. This atmospheric layer is formed by ionizing atoms under the influence of solar radiation. At the same time, the ionic layer emits low-frequency radio waves, which, apparently, Parker caught, flying in the immediate vicinity of Venus.
Data from Parker has allowed scientistsmeasure the thickness of the ionic layer of Venus, which turned out to be almost 10 times smaller than that measured in 1992. These data support the theory that the Venusian ionosphere changes significantly over the 11-year solar cycle.