NASA to attempt to 'touch the sun'

- For the first time time in its history, NASA is going to attempt to send a spacecraft into the sun's atmosphere.

NASA plans to announce the mission Wednesday at an event at the University of Chicago.

The mission, Solar Probe Plus, will launch in 2018. At this time the launch window is scheduled between July 31 and August 19.

Solar Probe Plus will explore the sun's outer atmosphere, coming within 4 million miles of the star, and gather critical data about the the physics of how stars work.

The three main goals of the mission are to trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerate the solar corona and solar wind, determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of solar wind, and explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particle.

Additionally NASA says that to "protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, we will send Solar Probe Plus to touch the sun."

The mission is scheduled to last nearly seven years and make 24 elliptical loops and contend with temperatures that reach nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

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