NASA is sending a probe straight towards the sun

Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

NASA has been working on assembling a probe that will get closer to the Sun than ever before. The Solar Probe Plus will be sent out to explore the Sun’s Corona.

“The Solar Probe Plus will repeatedly sample the near-Sun environment, revolutionizing our knowledge and understanding of coronal heating and of the origin and evolution of the solar wind and answering critical questions in heliophysics that have been ranked as top priorities for decades. Moreover, by making direct, in-situ measurements of the region where some of the most hazardous solar energetic particles are energized, Solar Probe Plus will make a fundamental contribution to our ability to characterize and forecast the radiation environment in which future space explorers will work and live.” – NASA Mission Overview.

This is history in the making. We have never sent any probe/spacecraft/anything so close to the Sun before. The probe will have to be manufactured to withstand more heat and move faster than any created before it. It will come within 6 million kilometers of the Sun’s surface, 7 times closer than any spacecraft has ever gotten to the colossal star, meaning it will have to withstand extreme temperatures of 1,400°C (2,500°F). Not only that, but the Probe will also have to accelerate to a speed of 200 kilometers (124 miles) per second as it approaches the Corona of the Sun. This will make it the fastest man-made object to ever have been created.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

The Probe is being built at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland and is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018. Physicists have been working on this project for some time now, but according to a recent article by IFLScience, the Solar Probe Plus has now been moved into the System Assembly, Integration, Test, and Launch stage of the NASA project.

We can expect to hear more about the Probe later this year. However, you can keep up with the latest news by checking out the Solar Probe Plus Mission Page.

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