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NASA is set to reveal new details about its unprecedented mission 'to touch the sun'


NASA is scheduled to reveal new details about its mission "to touch the sun" during a press conference later this week.

The mission, dubbed Solar Probe Plus, is set to launch in the summer of 2018. 

The spacecraft will orbit within four million miles of the sun's surface, meaning it will face heat and radiation "unlike any spacecraft in history," according to NASA

"The spacecraft will explore the sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work," NASA explains on its website. "The resulting data will improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space."

The Solar Probe Plus mission is tasked with collecting data on the corona, or the sun's outer atmosphere, in order to help scientists understand solar wind. 

NASA is set to reveal new details about its unprecedented mission 'to touch the sun'

WATCH  |  NASA's video shows the mission trajectory

In order to survive the mission, the spacecraft will have to withstand temperatures that reach nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The spacecraft and instruments used to collect data will be protected from the Sun's heat by a 4.5-inch carbon composite shield. 

Scientists said collecting this data could help predict a "huge solar event." 

Wednesday's event will be held at the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium at 11 a.m. EDT and will air on NASA Television as well as the agency's website.

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