Until now, NASA's Helios 2 was the vessel that has got the closest to the sun: in 1976, it came within 27 million miles of the surface of the sun.
This is about to change, as NASA is planning on making its brand new Parker Solar Probe have a path that will take it 3.83 million miles away from the sun. The journey will have as main purpose to gather as much information as possible on the yellow star.
When planning to send its brand new vessel to investigate on the sun, NASA has to take into account serious threats to its astronauts.
The biggest obvious threat is the extremely hot area that surrounds the sun, or what we call the virus. The research will actually focus also on finding out why the temperatures in the area are so high.
When traveling to the sun, astronauts take huge risks, as the sun emits an enormous amount of radiation. Usually this radiation is associated with heart issues or strokes.
Therefore, the closer you find yourself to the sun, the more chances you have to die sooner than you would normally had it not been for the journey.
NASA's newest vessel, the Parker Solar Probe, comes equipped with a custom-made heat shield, the so-called 'Thermal Protection System', which will protect the instruments behind it from high heat radiation. At the very end of the travel, any remaining unprotected parts of the Parker Solar Probe will shift toward the sun and transform into space dust.
By setting as goal the exploration of the sun starting this year and ending in 2025, NASA is bound to save the world trillions of dollars.
This is possible, as it is expected that the journey finds answers such as the functioning of solar winds, that can actually destroy satellites and mess up with our GPS signals and radio communications.
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