Massive solar flares have the potential to shut down power grids on Earth and wreak havoc on navigation systems

NASA is gearing up to send a robot to the Sun to help prepare for a “huge solar event” that could wreak havoc on Earth.

The Solar Plus Probe will come within four million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft has endured before.

Artist’s impression of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun

Scientists hope it will unlock the mysteries of the Sun’s corona, the massive hole in the heart of the star.

Experts know that the unstable corona is believed to be cooler than the Sun’s atmosphere, but have no idea why.

And it is a prime spot for producing potentially devastating solar wind, flares and mass “ejections” that can reach Earth’s atmosphere.

The Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun. At closest approach, Solar Probe Plus will be travelling 450,000 miles per hour

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
5
The Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun. At closest approach, Solar Probe Plus will be travelling 450,000 miles per hour
The Solar Probe Plus will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth

5
The Solar Probe Plus will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth