Skip to main content

The Greatest Missions to the Sun

Parker Solar Probe (launch scheduled for 2018)

Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben/NASA

Parker Solar Probe is expected to launch in 2018 to get closer to the sun than ever before. It will "touch" material from the corona, zooming in as close as 3.8 million miles (6.1 million kilometers) to the sun's photosphere, according to NASA. The spacecraft will make seven flybys of Venus over seven years and do periodic passes by the sun, aiming to provide an unprecedented close-up look at the corona and the origins of the solar wind. [Read more about Parker Solar Probe]

Solar Orbiter (launch scheduled for 2020)

ESA

Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission to examine how the sun generates the heliosphere, as well as the solar wind, energetic particles and other emissions from the sun. "Being close to the Sun allows for observations of solar surface features and their connection to the heliosphere for much longer periods than from near-Earth vantage points. The view of the solar poles will help us to understand how dynamo processes generate the sun's magnetic field," ESA stated. [Read more about Solar Orbiter]

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.