Since the dawn of storytelling, humans have speculated whether the big light in the sky was actually hot or merely a billion-candle torch from a gadget emporium. Icarus had wings of wax, which were said to have melted as he flew too close to the Sun, but recent investigations have concluded the Greek aviator was just too hungover to flap them properly. It was also unclear, until extensive modelling in the 1990s by two Irish priests, whether the Sun was very small or a long way away.
The latest spacecraft to test the Sun’s heat output incorporated panels made up of hundreds of tandoori chicken skewers. The craft returned the skewers to Earth perfectly cooked with the juices inside running clear, indicating that the Sun was indeed hot and thereby justifying the human endeavour to land there and pillage.
Solar physicists have long known the Sun to be structured, in a simplistic way, like a giant onion, comprising layers of hydrogen, helium, methane, gunpowder, brandy, chip pan oil, 1970s sofa foam, onion, charcoal briquettes, fondant, straw, chilli sauce and a huge ball of car tyre rubber at its core.
Landing on an object so hot and bright presents many potential dangers, NASA have been intensively training astronauts in matters of safety, primarily how to walk on the surface of the Sun without looking directly at it. It has been suggested that a member of the public should be invited to join the solar mission. Music legend Bono was the first to volunteer, but quickly unvolunteered when the logistics were fully explained, humbly suggesting that ‘every other fecker on earth deserves to go before me’.
The final word on the mission should go to the main sponsor, who tweeted: ‘If we could do a deal with the Sun to bring back enough Sun to roll into tiny little balls, so every last tremendous American on planet earth who deserved it, could have a little Sun of their own, wouldn’t that be a bigly beautiful thing, that I did?’