New NASA Probe Aims To Touch The Sun
NASA is set to make a big announcement Wednesday about its mission to send an unmanned scientific probe directly into our Sun’s atmosphere, where the spacecraft will face extreme levels of radiation and temperatures of over 2500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Solar Probe Plus aims to "touch the sun" by placing itself into an orbit closer to sun than any spacecraft ever. From four million miles away, the probe will endure uncomprehensible amounts of heat and solar radiation in order to study the atmosphere of the Sun and the mechanics behind what makes the stars in our sky work.
The mission hopes to gain a better understanding of solar weather events that could impact life on Earth, as well as space travelers and space stations currently in orbit.
— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) May 28, 2017
The probe's launch window lies somewhere between July and August 2018, but won't be making a direct trip to the center of our Solar System. Solar Probe Plus will have a purposefully long and methodical journey in seven-year series of concentric loops around Venus that will slingshot it well within the orbit of Mercury. Once there, it will shatter the record for a spacecraft's proximity to the Sun and will be encountering it 24 times at 450 thousand miles an hour.