Nasa has launched a probe that will head closer to the sun than any other spacecraft before it.

The Parker solar probe, a robotic spacecraft the size of a small car, launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Sunday, embarking on a seven-year mission which will see it flying into the sun’s corona – the outermost part of its atmosphere – within 3.8m miles (6.1 m km) of its surface.

Scientists are aiming to use the probe to collect data about the inner workings of the highly magnetised corona, to better understand the causes of solar wind.

Sunday’s takeoff was highly anticipated after a last-minute technical problem on Saturday delayed the launch

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