In last 60 years since its inception, NASA has been to places that is well beyond human imagination. The space agency is the most powerful medium to understand and explore this infinitely large universe. NASA stands testimony to humankind’s insatiable curiosity and its urge to know the unknown. In the past, the American space agency has launched New Horizons probe which after flying by Pluto in the summer of 2015 is now 3.5 billion miles (5.6 billion km) away from earth. Voyager 1, launched in 1977, has left the solar system entirely, cruising through space at a remove of 11.7 billion miles (18.9 billion km) from our planet.
Given the kind unexpected feats NASA has scaled, it was only a matter of time that the space agency would have announced its plan to reach for the sun which is just 93 million miles (150 million km) away. NASA is set to announce on May 31 its first-ever mission-Solar Probe Plus– to fly directly into the punishing heat of the sun’s atmosphere. The announcement will be part of a live webcast that will be available to watch on NASA TV.
According to a press release by the space agency, “The mission, Solar Probe Plus, is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018.” Under the new mission , the specially-designed spacecraft will be placed in orbit within four million miles of the sun’s surface. It will face the punishing heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history and explore the sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work. The resulting data will improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.