NASA to fly Solar Probe Plus right into sun’s atmosphere in 2018

The purpose is to study the sun’s outer atmosphere and better understand how stars like ours work.

A NASA spacecraft will aim straight for the sun next year.

The space agency announced the red-hot mission on May 31, 2017 at the University of Chicago. Scheduled to launch in summer 2018, the Solar Probe Plus will fly within 6.4 million km of the sun’s surface right into the solar atmosphere. It will be subjected to brutal heat and radiation like no other man-made structure before.

This image made available by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on May 31, 2017 depicts NASA’s Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun.

The purpose is to study the sun’s outer atmosphere and better understand how stars like ours work.

An artist’s impression of Solar Probe Plus, the spacecraft NASA aims to fly directly into the Sun’s atmosphere. Photo: @NASA

The announcement came during a ceremony honouring astrophysicist Eugene Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago.

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