NASA to embark on first mission to 'touch the sun' in 2018
A NASA spacecraft will aim straight for the sun next year.
The space agency announced the red-hot mission Wednesday at the University of Chicago.
Scheduled to launch in summer 2018, the Solar Probe Plus will fly within 4 million miles of the sun's surface — right into the solar atmosphere. It will be subjected to brutal heat and radiation like no other man-made structure before.
The purpose is to study the sun's outer atmosphere and better understand how stars like ours work.
The announcement came during a ceremony honoring astrophysicist Eugene Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago.