NASA hopes to launch the Solar Probe Plus (SPP) sometime before 2018. The probe is meant to reach the Sun’s scorching atmosphere (1,400C)—the corona—before being destroyed. Scientists will attempt to measure the plasma, magnetic fields and dust surrounding our father star. If successful, it will be the first spacecraft to reach the sun within such a close proximity.
Dick Fisher, Director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, has stated that the purpose of the mission is to, “solve two key questions of solar physics: why is the Sun’s outer atmosphere so much hotter than the Sun’s visible surface, and what propels the solar wind that affects Earth and our Solar System.”
The spacecraft will be protected by a carbon-composite heat shield—yet to be built—that will help keep it together while it cuts through the Sun’s atmosphere gathering data.
This mission will cost about $180 million to complete, so good luck to our spacemen. NASA has seen its share of pricey experiments—some more successful than others—so will this one be worth it? They hope so. What do you think?
Written by Bryan Gonzalez