Like Icarus before them, NASA is about to attempt to fly awfully close to that big glowing ball in the sky. With the potential to blast off as soon as Saturday, NASA is launching a probe straight at the sun. Really.
The Parker Solar Probe will take off from Florida, then spend six weeks in flight before hitting Venus's gravitational pull. The planet's gravity will send the probe toward our star, where it will approach the sun's atmosphere or corona on its first of two dozen passes by the sun lasting until 2024.
The probe will venture closer to the sun than any spacecraft has before. The closest pass will bring it 0.04 astronomical units from the sun or seven times closer than any other human-made object, according to NASA.