Can I touch the sun

Space research: NASA wants to touch the sun with a probe

New long-term project at NASA: The US space agency wants to use a probe to examine the sun's radiant corona, which is over a million degrees. The "Solar Probe Plus" is about the size of a car and should be sent to the solar corona by 2018 at the latest, which is over 140 million kilometers from Earth. "Nasa has begun developing a project to visit the sun closer and to explore it from closer than ever before," the agency said.

The probe will immerse itself directly in the sun's atmosphere. "It will explore a region that no spacecraft has ever touched before," emphasized NASA.

Two key questions need to be answered: “Why is the outer solar atmosphere so much hotter than the visible solar surface?” Says NASA expert Dick Fisher. And: "What drives the solar winds that affect the earth and our solar system?" These questions have been bothering science for decades, "Solar Probe Plus" is supposed to provide an answer.

In order to withstand the enormous heat, the space probe will be equipped with a special heat shield. "This project allows human ingenuity to go where no spacecraft has ever been," said NASA researcher Lika Guhathakurta. "For the first time we are able to touch, taste and smell our sun."