Two months ago when we were about to step into a new year, most of us had pledged to do something interesting and unique in 2018. Well if you had wished the same, here's your chance to try something unbelievable as your name could soon zoom through the sun's superheated outer atmosphere, braving brutal heat and radiation conditions.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is inviting people from across the globe to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard its historic solar probe launching this summer. Ironic though the spacecraft will plunge into Sun storms and burn off. But the names in a shield will remain in tact.
"This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before," Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington said. "This mission will answer questions scientists have sought to uncover for more than six decades," Zurbuchen added.
The spacecraft was renamed from the Solar Probe Plus to the Parker Solar Probe by NASA in May 2017 in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere about four million miles from the star's surface, said reports.
The mission is aimed at tracing how energy and heat move through the solar corona. The primary goal of the spacecraft will be to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.
NASA said that the mission will revolutionise our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can spread out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield from the Sun's heat. The shield can withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 2,500 F.
NASA said that the spacecraft speed is so fast, at its closest approach it will be going at approximately 430,000 mph. The speed is fast enough to from Washington DC, to Tokyo in under a minute.
"Parker Solar Probe is, quite literally, the fastest, hottest -- and, to me, coolest -- mission under the Sun," project scientist Nicola Fox of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, US, said.
"This incredible spacecraft is going to reveal so much about our star and how it works that we've not been able to understand," she added.
The US space agency would accept submissions until April 27, 2018. Interested people can get more information by visit the official website of NASA (http://go.nasa.gov/HotTicket).