Have you ever wondered what would happen if you flew a rocket straight into the sun? You’ll soon be able to find out because NASA plans to do just that.
NASA is planning to send a space probe, the Solar Probe Plus, through the sun’s corona in order to gather information about why the corona is so hot, and why it generates solar winds.
Scientists and nerds alike have been wanting to do this for a long time, and hopefully, NASA will send this probe into the sun by the planned date of 2018.
One of the biggest challenges of this mission, is making a probe that can withstand the heat of the sun. Discovery reports that the Solar Probe Plus, which is being developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Baltimore, will have to withstand temperatures of up to 2,6000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat shields on space shuttles are designed to melt away on reentry, but the Space Probe Plus won’t have that luxury.
“The whole point of the mission is to do particle detection and in situ measurements. If you’re measuring part of your shield that’s not going to work,” said Andy Dantzler, Solar Probe Plus project manager at Johns Hopkins University.
The Solar Probe Plus will make 24 journeys around the sun, eventually closing its distance. It will eventually pass within 4 million miles of the sun, which is 8 times closer than any previous probe.