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Europe Plans Space Mission–To The Sun

Partial Solar Eclipse
(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

No, it’s not a line from Smash Mouth’s Walking On The Sun…The collective European Space Agency plans to build an exploratory spacecraft that will come within 25 million miles of the sun-closer than any previous spacecraft.

And no, it will NOT be manned.  The craft, expected to be launched in 2017, would chart emissions, orbital patterns and other behaviors of our source of light and energy.   A significant amount of support will come from NASA, and it will be approached in a similar manner to other craft that have headed towards distant stars, because in astronomy circles, the sun is basically a star-it’s just the one closest to the earth.  Special shields will have to be installed on the craft, and scientific measuring tools will have to peek through specially designed “slits” to avoid the 500 degree expected heat from the star.   Imagine-25 million miles away, and it’s 500 degrees!  By comparison, Earth is 93 million miles from the sun.  When news of the story first broke, before people had a chance to read the text, many were joking about a mission to the sun.  When asked how they would avoid the excessive heat, bloggers joked “they’ll go at night…”  hmmmm….

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