If you've been strangely itching to get a closer look at the Sun without totally ruining your eyesight, you can color yourself quite fortunate. The aptly-named Sunrise project is an international collaboration involving a number of institutions that have successfully sent a jumbo-jet sized balloon some 120,000 feet high with a solar telescope riding shotgun. The plan is to send the massive device on lengthy journeys beginning in 2009 "that will capture unprecedented details of the Sun's surface," and furthermore, it could enable scientists to launch instruments up for testing without having to strap them onto a rocket and consequently destroy their budget. Set to take flight in the summer of '09 from Kiruna, Sweden, the balloon is scheduled to "capture continuous images for a period of several days to as long as two weeks," and no, you can't buy a seat
on this one.