MAY 30, 2017 06:25 AM PDT

NASA is Planning a Mission to "Touch" the Sun

NASA is planning to announce an unprecedented mission some this week in which the space agency will validate its interest in sending a space probe closer to the Sun than any other space probe has ventured in the past.

An artist's impression of the Solar Probe Plus satellite as it leaves the Earth.

Image Credit: JHU/APL/NASA

The mission, which is being dubbed Solar Probe Plus, will involve flying a satellite within 4 million miles of the Sun’s surface to collect data. This mission will launch sometime in the Summer of 2018 and should enable NASA to learn more about both the Sun's chemical and physical properties.

Flying this closely to the Sun, the probe will venture into the Sun’s outer atmosphere and be subjected to more intense heat temperatures and solar radiation than any other man-made satellite in history, but it will be for a very good cause – science.

Related: NASA spots a large coronal hole in the Sun's surface

For comparison, Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun in our Solar System and orbits the Sun approximately 35.98 million miles away on average. This is close enough that Mercury exhibits surface temperatures as high as 801º Fahrenheit; a temperature hot enough to melt lead.

Solar Probe Plus will be responsible for helping NASA to learn about the inner workings of stars, their physics, and more.

With this data, NASA hopes to provide more accurate solar storm and Sun activity forecasts, enabling us to have a better idea of how these events impact satellites in space as well as life on Earth and on the International Space station.

Related: Experts expect 'Maunder Minimum'-like solar hehavior in the next few decades

NASA’s announcement is planned for Wednesday, May 31st at 11 A.M. EDT and will be live-streamed from the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium. To tune into what NASA has to say, you can visit their website tomorrow at the aforementioned time.

Among the most interesting parts of this project will be learning how NASA will withstand the substantial amount of heat and what kinds of data will be pulled from the Sun when we finally get close enough to it.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 06, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 06, 2018
NASA's TESS Spacecraft Spies a Comet
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) officially began scientific operations at the end of last month, a move that will help the space...
SEP 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 17, 2018
How Common Are Planetary Collisions?
Outer space is nothing short of a galactic free-for-all. Space rocks fly in virtually every direction, sporadically impacting larger objects like moons, pl...
OCT 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 08, 2018
Hubble Space Telescope Forced to Sleep After Mechanical Failure
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which launched into orbit around the Earth in 1990, remains one of the most powerful space observatories in service to...
NOV 04, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 04, 2018
Roscosmos Discerns Cause of Faulty Soyuz Launch, Expects to Resume Launches
Just last month, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft poised to send an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station failed mid-flig...
NOV 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2018
Barnard's Star May Host an Exoplanet After All...
At six light-years away from Earth, Barnard’s Star holds the title of the second-closest stellar neighbor to our solar system. Astronomers have long...
NOV 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 19, 2018
Kepler Scientists Reflect on the Now Retired Mission
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope recently ran out of fuel, preventing it from aligning its antenna toward Earth and maintaining communication. NASA knew...
Loading Comments...