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NASA Is Going To Launch The World's First Mission To The Sun

By Mark Pygas

Space has fascinated us since the first day we looked up at the sky and saw the bright light beating down on us. It has been a god, a hoax to some weird folks, but nowadays it's universally known as the sun. We've studied the sun the way people can study something a few million miles away, with theories and new discoveries popping up every few years about something that we have no ability to manipulate and would be extinct within minutes if it ceased to exist. Thinking about it that way really does trivialize the first world struggles a lot of us suffer at the hands of on a daily basis.

In a mission that's been in the works for near 60 years, NASA plans on launching a spacecraft in 2018 that will "touch the sun." The spacecraft is as small as a refrigerator, but built to withstand temperatures of more than 1000 degrees Celsius. Meaning that the probe will be able to get pretty close before being burnt to a crisp. 

"Even though the sun is so close to us, there's actually a lot about it we don't understand," says heat shield lead engineer Betsy Congdon of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.