NASA Has Money To Burn

Hmm, I wonder why Obama hasn’t canceled this yet? He’s pretty much stripped the rest of NASA bare.

Solar Probe Plus to ‘touch, taste, smell’ sun on $180m NASA mission

NASA has outlined details of its mission to send a probe deep into the sun’s atmosphere.

Set to launch by 2018, the Solar Probe Plus will be protected by a carbon-composite heat shield that can withstand temperatures up to 1400C.

About the size of a small car, the probe will get within 6.5 million kilometres of the sun’s surface.

“For the very first time, we’ll be able to touch, taste and smell our sun,” Lika Guhathakurta, Solar Probe Plus program scientist at NASA headquarters, said.

Last year, NASA invited scientists to submit proposals regarding exactly what the probe should do once it gets there.

According to Dick Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division in Washington, of the 13 proposals reviewed by NASA, five were chosen “specifically designed to solve two key questions of solar physics – why is the sun’s outer atmosphere so much hotter than the sun’s visible surface and what propels the solar wind that affects Earth and our solar system? ”

. . .

NASA has budgeted $US180 million for the mission, but claims the unprecedented analysis will enable it to better understand the sun and improve its ability to predict the severity of solar storms.

See also:
Spacecraft to Fly Into the Sun
NASA Wants to Plunge a Probe Into the Sun
Solar Probe Plus To Plunge Directly Into Sun’s Atmosphere
Solar Probe Plus instruments will brave the sun’s wrath
NASA readies probe for up-close study of sun’s corona
NASA To Launch Spacecraft Into the Sun
SwRI energetic particle instruments selected for Solar Probe Plus mission
Solar Probe Plus: A NASA Mission to Touch the Sun

/so, is it hot enough for you?