Parker Makes Fourth “Gravity Assisted” Dip Around Venus — Continually Shaping An Eventual Final Solar Perihelion Approach…

There is much to report upon out in the inky black night of space, these past ten days.

All of it encouraging, and good news. The spacecraft named for “Hidden Figure” Katherine Johnson reached orbit near the ISS yesterday safely, and deployed its solar arrays flawlessly. And we smiled widely at that.

Also yesterday, the Ingenuity helicopter — attached to the latest Mars rover, was partially charged up and reported all systems nominal. In about 50 Sols on Mars, or about 60 Earth days or so, it will be fully checked out and ready for test flights.

But this at right depicts. . . a looping dip around the Goddess Venus, by Prof. Eugene Parker’s solar probe — now underway. The lithe craft is presently shaping its “shepherded moonlet path,” by using the goddess’s gentle gravitational tug, to place it in an optimal orbit for close obervations of our Sun. A graceful dance, now unfolding over years — indeed:

. . .While @NASAPersevere settles into its new home on Mars, our #ParkerSolarProbe is making a quick visit to Venus. On Feb. 20, Parker performs its fourth Venus gravity assist, a maneuver that makes use of Venus’ gravity to draw its orbit closer to the Sun. . . .

Onward. . . and, it is these most subtle of corrections, that we celestial bodies exert on one another — occasionally even over decades or longer. . . that may most matter — to the longest lasting joy, of our lives.

And so, we sail onward, indeed — as it once again smells like snow, approaching here, tonight. Smile — cold, crisp and full of mineral content, the air. . . .


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