UnNews:NASA to send manned probe into Sun at night
8 September 2010
NASA, Washington DC -- We’re told to never look at the sun, but NASA has been gearing up for a new mission that would send a manned probe straight through its core, and then return to Earth safely. The $18 million probe called Solar Launch Plus will allow scientists to better understand solar radiation and its impact on weather patterns here on Earth.
The spacecraft will feature a revolutionary Unobtainium heat shield -- imported from Pandora -- to help withstand temperatures that exceed 2550 degrees Fahrenheit. A spokesman for NASA said it was comparable to sending a craft into the center of an atomic blast.
A scientist at NASA headquarters says that reaching the core will be the closest a spacecraft has been near the sun. “This spacecraft is actually going to go to the core and bring back samples of the plasma. It’s like tasting, touching, smelling the environment of the sun.”
But while the spacecraft is headed towards sun, the data it will gather will be useful to scientists back home. Kit Eaton of Fast Company notes the mission’s importance. “Firstly, the Sun's weather affects Earth more than you may think, and its even responsible for killing communications satellites in orbit. And secondly because it's in the spirit of pure curiosity: We still don't understand much about our nearest and dearest star.”
The price tag to send a car-sized spacecraft to its fiery destination is high, but Rebecca Boyle of Popular Science says it’s the only way to get good data. “No one can answer some fundamental questions about the sun’s evolution. The only way to do it is to go to the source, NASA says. Here's hoping the spacecraft doesn't get burned.” Although NASA plans to probe and enter the Sun at night, when temperatures are cooler and the chances of reach the Sun’s core are significantly better. “Only a mormon would attempt a Sun’s core probe during daylight hours” Boyle warned.
- Staff "NASA to Send Probe into Sun" Newsy.com, September 8, 2010