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Last Post 3/22/2013 11:05 AM by  Terry Kucera
Distance to the sun.
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3/22/2013 8:14 AM

    Hello My name is Drake.

    I would like to know what is the closest that any human has ever gotten to the sun. In spaceship, earth movement, etc.

    Tags: sun distance

    Emilia Kilpua

    New Member

    New Member

    3/22/2013 10:08 AM

    Hi Drake!

    Helios probes, which were studying the solar wind from mid 1970s to mid 1980s approach to 0.3 astronomical units from the Sun. NASA is preparing for the Solar Probe mission and it will travel much closer, only about 10 solar radii from the Sun! So the spacecraft has to endure extreme conditions. You can read more about this mission from here:


    Hazel Bain

    New Member

    New Member

    3/22/2013 10:09 AM
    Hi Drake This is a really good question. The Sun is 92 955 807 (about 93 million) miles or 149 597 871 ( about 149 million) km away from the Earth. Astronomers make these numbers easier by using Astronomical Units or AU. 1 AU is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. Humans haven't been very close at all. The furtherest a Human has been from the Earth is to the Moon. Astronauts out in space they can be effected by radiation from the Sun, the closer you go to the Sun the more radiation you would have to endure. So the best way is to send a spacecraft. In the late 1970's and early 1980's two Spacecraft were sent to orbit close to the Sun, Helios 1 and 2. They got as close about 0.29 AU (about 43 million km), which is just a little bit closer than the orbit of Mercury. Actually Helios 2 beat Helios 1 and got about 3 million km closer than Helios 1. However there's a really cool new spacecraft that is being built that will go even closer. It's called Solar Probe Plus and it will be launched in 2018. They hope that it will get as close as 0.034 AU or 5.9 million kilometers, roughly 1/8 of the orbit of Mercury. To go that close to the Sun the spacecraft needs to have a big heat shield to protect it from the heat of the Sun. I have friends at the laboratory that work at, who are building one of the instruments that will go on the spacecraft!! Hazel

    Terry Kucera

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    3/22/2013 11:05 AM

    Hi Drake,

    No human has ever gotten any further from Earth than the Moon, and the Moon is at esentailly the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, give or take the size of the Moon's orbit around Earth.

    The average distance of the Earth from the Sun is 149.6 million km (92 million miles). The Moon goes around the Earth at a distance of about 384,400 km, so you can see that does not make a big difference. The distance of the Earth varies a bit becasue its orbit is not a perfect circle. At its closet, in January, it is about 147 million km from the Sun.

    To figure out an exact number you would have to do calculations based on the time of the human Moon flights to check on time of year and position of the Moon, but essentially no one has gotten significantly closer to the Sun than the Earth.

    Robotic spacecraft are another story - I think the Helios 2 spacecraft holds the record at 43 million kilometers from the Sun. NASA is planning a Solar Probe mission which is supposed to get a robotic spacecraft 6 million kilometers from the solar surface!


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