ON THIS PAGE

    IntroductionA number of ancient cultures built stone structures or modified natural rock formations to mark the motions of the Sun. They charted the seasons, created calendars and monitored solar and lunar eclipses.

    Modern heliophysics research (the study of the Sun) and exploration aims to explore the complex Sun-Earth system. This includes the Sun and its effects on Earth and the solar system, as well as the conditions in space that future explorers will experience. For more information, visit Heliophysics at the NASA Science Mission Directorate.Significant Events

    Notable Explorers

    Missions

    Missions

    NASA's big mission to the Sun is the Parker Solar Probe—which will ultimately fly seven times closer to the Sun than any previous spacecraft.

    The Sun is under constant supervision from spacecraft such as the international Solar and Heliophysics Observatory (SOHO) and NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO). You can read more about missions to explore the Sun—past, present and future—on the NASA Science Mission Directorate Heliophysics missions page.

    Careers

    10 Careers That Explore Space

    1

    Astronaut

    Astronauts pave the way for human exploration beyond our Earth. They are pilots, scientists, engineers, teachers, and more.

    2

    Project Manager

    Project managers guide missions from concept to completion, working closely with team members to accomplish what they set out to do.  

    3

    Sample Processor

    Sample processors protect and preserve samples delivered back to Earth so they can be studied by scientists.

    The first thing that fired my imagination for planetary science was when the NASA Voyager spacecraft discovered active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io.

    4

    Artist

    Melding science with design, artists create everything from large-scale installations to the NASA posters hanging in your bedroom. 

    5

    Media Specialist

    Media specialists tells stories across social media and help feature missions and people on TV and in films, books, magazines, and news sites. 

    6

    Writer/Producer

    Writers/producers capture the incredible stories of NASA's missions and people and share them with the world. 

    7

    Administrator/Director

    Administrators and directors work out of NASA headquarters, prioritizing science questions and seeking to expand the frontiers of discovery.

    8

    Educator

    Whether it's introducing kids to space or teaching physics to PhD candidates, educators help share their knowledge with the public.

    9

    Engineer

    Engineers design and build all types of machines, from what a spacecraft looks like to the software that directs where a rover goes each day. 

    10

    Scientist

    From an astrophysicist to a volcanologist, scientists of all types pose questions and help find answers to the mysteries of our universe.

    I get to see something every day that most people only get to read about in books. I get to be up close and personal with the building blocks of our Universe.

    Explore in 3D

    Eyes on the Solar System Ad

    Explore in 3D—Eyes on the Solar System

    Eyes on the Solar System lets you explore the planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and the spacecraft exploring them from 1950 to 2050. Ride with the Curiosity Rover as it lands on Mars or fly by Pluto with the New Horizons spacecraft all from the comfort of your home computer.

    Eyes on the Solar System ›

    Sun News