The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the Solar Orbiter mission in 2017. It will investigate the connections between the Sun and the heliosphere, the magnetic bubble that surrounds our solar system. The heliosphere is produced by the solar wind, which can cause auroras in both hemispheres. In the image, an artist rendition of the spacecraft, which will be built by Atrium UK. Solar Orbiter will have to fly within 45 million kilometres of the Sun. “Solar Orbiter is a fantastic mission. It will help us understand how the Sun, essential to almost all life on Earth, forms the heliosphere and the origin of space weather, which can have an enormous influence on our modern civilisation,” said professor Alvaro Gimenez CaÃ±ete, ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, in an announcement.