Answer: Within 4 Million Miles
Tomorrow morning, a NASA spacecraft the size of a Tesla will begin its trek towards to a star we’ve all come to know and love, the sun. The Parker Solar Probe, as the vehicle is called, will come within 4 million miles of the burning ball of plasma-fire. This is closer than any other human-made machine has ever come to the sun seeing as how this region of our solar system can reach above 3 million degrees.
According to The Verge, “thanks to advancements in carbon manufacturing and other key areas of engineering, NASA has been able to create a vehicle with a state-of-the-art heat shield and other crucial cooling systems. The result: the spacecraft will stay at room temperature in some of the hottest places in the Solar System.”
One of the questions the Parker Solar Probe is trying answer is why the atmosphere around the sun is actually hotter than the sun itself. “The Sun’s corona is actually 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun, and no one understands why.”
The probe is named after an astrophysicist Eugene Parker who came up with the term “solar wind” when he published his theory about how stars release energy. In much simpler terms, Parker said that star-atmospheres get so hot they continually kick out particles which then reach other planets, rocks, or any other space debris in their vicinity.
Traveling at a pace of 430,000 miles an hour, the Parker Space Probe will take off at 3:33 AM EST tomorrow (August 11), from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Good Speed.