today in heliophysics
It is perhaps rather fitting that this is the year NASA has decided to announce its plans to fly into the sun.
The space agency said Wednesday that it will send a (thankfully) unmanned spacecraft to the sun in 2018 in what will be mankind's first ever mission to a star, the agency announced Wednesday. The Parker Solar Probe, named after heliophysics pioneer Eugene Parker, will travel 93 million miles to the sun and orbit for a total of 24 close approaches between November 2018 and June 2025.
Each orbit will take 88 days, with the probe traveling 450,000 miles per hour, or fast enough to zip between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. in one second, Time reports. And to answer your burning question: The probe can withstand temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, Axios reports.
"The spacecraft will explore the sun's outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work," NASA said in a statement.