NASA made an announcement about its first mission to enter directly into the sun’s atmosphere at an event at University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center on Wednesday.
As part of the unmanned mission, the Parker Solar Probe, named for solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will go to the sun’s outer atmosphere next summer.
The probe will move more than 430,000 miles per hour (the equivalent of traveling from New York to Tokyo in less than a minute) and be seven times closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft.
NASA plans to use advanced material technologies in the form of a heat shield and new solar panels to reach the sun’s corona, which is the outermost part of its atmosphere. This area’s temperature measures around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
NASA will use the information it mines from the mission to better forecast space weather, which impacts satellites, astronauts and the Earth.