(NBC News) – NASA has announced what it calls “humanity’s first mission to touch the sun.”
Next year the space agency will launch a probe that will get closer to the sun than any manmade object in history.
This will be the first time a space probe enters the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, passing within four million miles of the sun’s surface, seven times closer than ever before.
It’s named the “Parker Solar Probe” after the Chicago Physicist who discovered solar wind in the 1950s, the first time a space mission has been named after a living person.
Scientists want to know what causes the sun to blow wind and plasma flares out into space, and there are more questions.
“Why is the corona hotter than the surface of the sun? That defies the laws on nature,” says Mission Project Scientist Nicola Fox.
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