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NASA Announces Mission To The Sun

A "mission of extremes"

NASA Announces Mission To The Sun

Pic credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NASA has revealed plans for a mission which will brush past the sun, coming closer than any spacecraft in history. 

The plan, set to happen in 2018, is supposed to reveal exactly how stars are made. 

The unmanned Parker Solar Probe (which is the size of a small car) will take off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and fly directly into the sun's atmosphere, and should orbit within 6.3 million kilometres of the sun's surface. 

At that point, temperatures would be exceeding 1,377 degrees Celsius. To withstand those temps, the spacecraft's shell will need to be more than 4.5 inches thick. 

NASA scientist Nicola Fox have described it as a "mission of extremes". 

"You can learn so much from looking out the window...You can see the sun is shining, you can see the birds are singing. But until you actually go out, you have no idea quite how hot it is out there or how windy it is, or what the conditions are like."

"I think we have really come as far as we can with looking at things and now it is time to go up and pay it a visit," she said. 

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