Humanity’s fascination with the sun is nothing new, but our technology has come a long way from Icarus’ wings of feathers and wax. There are plans currently underway for two major solar exploration projects:
The European Space Agency (ESA) with NASA's backing plans to launch the Solar Orbiter. The probe will orbit the sun to give scientists a never-before-seen view of its poles. Mission launch is expected in 2017. Design work is in progress.
In addition, NASA plans to launch Solar Probe Plus in May 2015 on a seven-year mission. The probe will circle Venus seven times, each time entering more deeply into the sun’s atmosphere.