CHICAGO (CBSMiami) — There’s a big announcement Wednesday from NASA which will announce its very first mission directly into the sun’s atmosphere.
NASA says they will touch the sun with the Solar Probe Plus, scheduled to launch between July 31 and Aug. 19 in 2018. At its closest approach, the probe will hurtle around the sun at about 450-thousand miles an hour. That speed is fast enough to travel from Philadelphia to Washington, DC in one second.
The spacecraft will be placed in orbit within four million miles of the sun’s surface, where the temperature is 10,000 degrees, and face heat and radiation unlike any other spacecraft in history, NASA said.
Temperatures will reach nearly 2,500 degrees outside the spacecraft, which will be protected by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield.
In order to unlock the mysteries of the corona, but also to protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, Solar Probe Plus will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth.
NASA is making the announcement from the University of Chicago at 11 a.m.