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Artist's concept of NASA's Solar Probe spacecraft making its daring pass toward the sun, where it will study the forces that create solar wind. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., will design and build the spacecraft, on a schedule to launch in 2015. Preliminary designs include a 9-foot-diameter, 6-inch-thick, carbon-foam-filled solar shield atop the spacecraft body, and two sets of solar arrays that would retract or extend as the spacecraft swings toward or away from the sun -- making sure the panels stay at proper temperatures and power levels.

Credit: NASA/The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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