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

By Mark Pygas

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. 

And there's a few things that scientists want answers to. First, how can the sun fling winds out at supersonic speeds? If we learn the answer, Congdon says it'll help us protect astronauts and satellites from these events.