With a probe still operating far beyond Pluto and other missions orbiting Saturn, Jupiter, Ceres, Mars, Earth, and the moon, NASA has eyes across the solar system like never before.
But while more and more missions look outward, few have travelled the opposite direction—toward the sun that gives us light, heat, and a stable orbit through space.
Next year, with its Parker Solar Probe, NASA’s going to change that. It will get within four million miles of the small star—several times closer than any previous missions. By going to the sun, rather than simply pointing a telescope in its direction, scientists hope to solve prevailing mysteries about its fiery atmosphere and its storms that can create huge problems here on Earth.
Watch the video above to see what they hope to find out, and why it’s taken so long to make the mission a reality.