Today: Thu 18 Jan 2018

Nasa to launch a probe to the surface of the SUN next year to protect Earth from a 'huge solar event'

Nasa is sending a robot to the sun to help understand dangerous solar activity which could threaten humanity's existence. The spacecraft will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface next year- facing extremes in heat and radiation. The mission, known as the Solar Probe Plus (SPP), will go seven times closer to the sun's surface than any spacecraft before it.

Scientists have long wanted to send a probe through the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, to better understand the solar wind and the material it carries into our solar system. 'This is going to be our first mission to fly to the sun,' said Eric Christian, a Nasa research scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

'We can't get to the very surface of the sun,' but the mission will get close enough to answer three important questions, he said. To survive its mission, the spacecraft will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,377 degrees Celsius).
It will be made of a 4.5 inch-thick (11.43 cm) carbon-composite shield. Until scientists can explain what is going on up close to the sun, they will not be able to accurately predict space weather effects that cause havoc at Earth.

The latest mission could help predict a 'huge solar event', Nasa claims.

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