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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

NASA readies probe to touch the sun with 'cutting-edge heat shield'


For the first time in human history, we are going to "touch the sun".

As NASA prepares for an Aug. 4 launch, it has unveiled a "cutting-edge heat shield", installed on June 27, that will keep the spacecraft from being burnt to a crisp.

The probe's mission will take it within 4 million miles of the sun, a region of space never before visited by a human-made spacecraft. For comparison's sake, the closest that Mercury ever gets to the sun is approximately 29 million miles. Getting that close to what is, essentially, a giant ball of fire requires some significant enhancements.

That's where the Thermal Protection System comes in.

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