Nasa plans to touch the sun

Nasa has announced plans to launch a mission that will see it touching the sun by sending a probe closer to the sun than any other craft in history.

The mission will begin as early as 31 July 2018 and the probe will make 24 orbits around the sun.

The spacecraft previously known as Solar Probe Plus, has now been renamed the Parker Solar Probe for Eugene Parker, the astrophysicist who discovered solar wind in 1958.

Stephen Grootes spoke to Wits University's Professor Andrew Chen.

They are using a very clever means, the way to get around in the solar system is once you launch a spacecraft, put it on a trajectory so it interacts with a planet that can give it a little gravitational boost and change its orbit.

Andrew Chen, High-energy Astrophysics at Wits University 

It is planned to fly past Venus seven times and each time its orbit is going to get a little bit closer to the sun until finally in 2024 it is going to make its first close approach to the sun, he explains.

The best thing to know about the sun is that it is very active and mysterious in some ways... When you get to the corona it's much hotter, so what this probe is going to do is get information to try and figure out why that is the case.

Andrew Chen, High-energy Astrophysics at Wits University 

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio....

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