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An illustration of the Parker Solar Probe heading toward the Sun.
NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

On August 12, 2018, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched into space on a mission to unveil some of the greatest mysteries surrounding our sun.

The probe features a 10 square meter heat shield made from carbon foam that can withstand up to 3,000 degrees without incinerating. The front of the probe is covered in a synthetic sapphire crystal that reflects around six megawatts of sunlight; enough energy to power a small village.

Justin Kasper is a lead investigator on the project. He joined Stateside at our recent Ann Arbor live show to talk about what he hopes to learn from the information collected by the probe.

NASA HQ PHOTO / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

It's the stuff of science fiction: send a space mission to the sun.

But science fiction became reality this week when NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, humanity's first-ever mission into the corona, part of the sun’s atmosphere.