This illustration from NASA shows Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. NASA is accepting online submissions until April 27, 2018, for sending your name on the spacecraft all the way to the sun. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben via AP)
(NASA) Parker Space Probe
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP/Meredith) — NASA will fly you to the sun, or at least your name.
NASA is accepting online submissions for this hottest ticket in town. The names will be sent to the Parker Solar Probe all the way to the sun.
Once launched this summer from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the probe will eventually come within 4 million miles of our star, closer than any other spacecraft. Temperatures will reach 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, as the spacecraft zips in and out of this atmospheric hot zone.
Until now, the materials for such a grueling journey were unavailable.
Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. Launching in 2018, Parker Solar Probe 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.
Parker Solar Probe is an extraordinary and historic mission exploring arguably the last and most important region of the solar system to be visited by a spacecraft to finally answer top-priority science goals for over five decades.
But we don't do this just for the basic science.
One recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that without advance warning a huge solar event could cause two trillion dollars in damage in the US alone, and the eastern seaboard of the US could be without power for a year.
In order to unlock the mysteries of the corona, but also to protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, we will send Parker Solar Probe to touch the sun.
Actor William Shatner, who portrayed Capt. James Kirk in the old "Star Trek" TV series, is NASA's pitchman for the send-your-name-to-the-sun campaign.star.
Submissions will be accepted through April 27, 2018.