The mission? To study the Sun's complicated dynamic interior and to better understand how these processes affect the Sun's ejected material (an important concern for Earthlings). The Sun's 'corona' is a glow of plasma surrounding the sun extending hundreds of thousands of miles outwards (see image); it can also reach millions of degrees (even hotter than the surface of the Sun!).
Solar flares spew out huge amounts of materials that can be many thousands of times greater in size than our own Earth. The frequency of solar flares vary along a 11 year cycle, peaking somewhere in the middle. Scientists know that the frequency of solar flares is related to the changing magnetic fields within the Sun. Dark 'sunspots' form as a direct result of these fields and typically last from a few days to months; they also accompany certain types of solar flares.
So many questions to answer... This NASA probe should shed light (or be shed light upon... or melted) on some of the unanswered questions relating to the dynamics of the Sun; our planet's most important source of energy. The energy arriving from the Sun in one hour is enough to power the whole economy for a year...! But lets not get carried away, that is a more completed fete than one would imagine.
By the way... its quite amazing that its taken so long to do this. We've directly photographed most planets up close (including that pesky 'non' planet Pluto), landed on comets and other planets' moons, landed on Mars and even sent probes outside of our solar system; yet this visit to our highly visible neighbour is quite unique.
To put this in perspective: In Carl Sagan's 1980 book "Cosmos", in the closing chapter he lists a whole bunch of future space projects that WILL HAPPEN. Looking at it now some say that he 'prophetically' lists all of those things that have indeed happened, and mostly in the order in which they did happen: landing on Titan, landing rovers on Mars, landing on comets, etc. Lets be realistic, space missions take years-to-decades to plan. Thinking of those future programs will take all the bright minds of now to make their wildest dreams come true in the future.
Its up to our highly skilled youth to make those dreams happen.
Image courtesy of wikipedia here.