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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: April 12, 2015

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by Hazed

Two missions are being planned to send spaceships inside the orbit of Mercury to study the sun – and designing the ships to withstand the heat is proving challenging!

The European Space Agency is planning the Solar Orbiter (SoIO) and NASA’s craft is called the Solar Probe Plus (SP+). Both will need pretty hefty heatshields to protect the instruments that will be examining the sun in close up.

SoIO’s mission will take it within 26 million miles of the sun, which is considerably closer than Mercury’s orbit. It will use telescopes to take pictures at a resolution never before achieved, which should reveal solar features in great detail.

SP+ is going even closer: it’ll be racing past the sun at high speed (124 miles per second) and getting as close as 3 million miles. At that distance it won’t be able to look directly at the sun to take pictures, but will get remarkable data about conditions.

To read about the different approaches the two missions will take to building a heatshield, follow the source link below.

Both missions are scheduled to launch in 2018.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32069216

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