NASA announces it is one step closer to unprecedented solar mission

Dec 28, 2016

Photo of a solar flare.
Credit NASA

NASA announced last week that it is one step closer to its mission to “touch the sun.”

As Business Insider reports, NASA’s Solar Probe Plus mission is planned to take off with a 2018 launch of a spaceship that will complete 24 orbits of the sun and then, after completing seven flybys of Venus to get closer and closer, the spacecraft will dive into the corona, or the outer atmosphere of the sun, coming to just under 4 million miles from the Sun’s surface – seven times closer than any other spacecraft.

According to NASA, the spacecraft will collect data about solar activity to help scientists forecast major space-weather events, like solar flares that impact life on earth and have been known to damage satellites and power lines.

The goals of the mission include tracing the flow of energy from the corona, understanding the heating of the corona and  investigating how solar winds are accelerated.

NASA also hopes to investigate the black hole growing on the sun’s surface, Business Insider report, and according to Inquisitr, those types of features can produce solar storms that are so dangerous to our electronics that “scientists fear civilization could be sent back to the dark ages if a large blast were to strike earth.”