NASA will reveal details Wednesday about its "extraordinary and historic" mission to "touch the sun."
The mission, Solar Probe Plus, will launch in the summer of 2018 and marks the agency's first to the star at the center of the solar system.
"Placed in orbit within four million miles of the sun’s surface, and facing heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history, the spacecraft will explore the sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work," NASA said in a statement.
NASA hopes data collected during the mission will improve forecasting of weather events in space that impact life on Earth, the lives of astronauts in space and satellites, the agency said.
"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 U.S. could be without power for a year," NASA said.
NASA will make the announcement during an event at the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium at 11 a.m. ET.