When you really need to dispose of something for good, accept no substitutes.
SCP-1543-01 is a catapult with an absurdly far length of range, designed in 16xx to meet a common need of that time: launching dangerous and potentially reality-altering objects into the sun. Despite the fact that this was often an unnecessary waste of resources and time, it was often decided as the best course of action.
Have something that you need to get rid of permanently? And it can't be destroyed by ordinary means? Throw it into the Sun (or any convenient nearby star; a black hole works, too). If you have Super Strength, just give it a good toss. Otherwise, you'll probably have to reprogram a space shuttle's coordinates, or possibly even set it to manual and make a Heroic Sacrifice yourself.
Realistically, the Shuttle —and any spacecraft built to date— has nowhere near the thrust needed. You'd have to cancel out the entire orbital velocity of the Earth, which takes roughly twice as much delta-vee as would be required to throw whatever it is out of the solar system, which we have so far only managed to do by stealing momentum from Jupiter. In fact, if you had the necessary rocket engine, it would probably be easier, simpler, and cheaper to use it as a blowtorch. (Between those two extremes, you could drop it to Earth from orbit without a heat shield.)
But those who advocate throwing things into the sun rarely know that, because they think Gravity Sucks. Furthermore, even if the object *is* tough enough to withstand the sun's power, it's likely that few enemies are tough enough to go after it. Also, Rule of Cool tends to apply.
Compare Kill It with Fire. Contrast Fling a Light into the Future.
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In Dragon Ball Z, Goku disposed of Cooler this way, although he survives and comes back as a Cyborg. He and his two sons also finish off Broly this way later on (though Broly's body comes out of the other side of the sun with his heart intact, allowing him to be cloned), and in Dragonball GT, Super Saiyan 4 Goku killed Baby this way.
"Sun, you grow my food... you kill my enemies. You're totally worth the skin cancer." - Goku, DBZ Abridged
This was the eventual fate of the Gundams in Gundam Wing. Then in Endless Waltz, it turned out they needed them again. Oops. Now Quatre has to go get them back. And then once they were finished, they were self-destructed and everybody got along and lived Happily Ever After.
In the final episode of the original Astro Boy anime, Astro Boy manually aimed a rocket headed for Earth into the Sun, but sacrificed himself as a result.
Subverted in an episode of Kirby of the Stars where Kirby defeats the giant green-caterpillar-like enemy Poppon this way with the Chef ability. He places the enemy in a huge frying pan and tosses it right at the sun. Only it doesn't fly into the sun—instead it orbits around the sun, then comes right back to Dreamland as an exceedingly delicious fried dish.
Attempted by the McDougall Brothers in Outlaw Star when ordered to destroy the titular spaceship.
His protest does make sense: the Void wasn't the only thing he threw into the Sun, or at least, that wasn't the first time he threatened or offered to throw something into the Sun.
This ultimately happens to The Sentry himself while in his mortal, Bob Reynolds form to kill him (temporarily) after the events of Siege.
The Justice League tends to use the sun as its own personal incinerator. Great for disposing of kryptonite.
In DC One Million, Superman puts himself there. Of course by then he's so powerful, he's perfectly fine with that (better than fine, in fact, since he's powered by sunlight).
Superman's rescue of a doomed sun-mapping voyage kicks off the plot of All-Star Supermanand ends with Superman going into the sun to try and fix it, the implications being that this is how he ended up there in DC One Million.
In Justice, Superman has Captain Marvel throw him into the sun to kill the mind-control probes that have infected his body.
In the Republic series, this is how Anakin and Obi-Wan finally kill Durge.
Much later, in Legacy Cade sends Darth Krayt's body into Coruscant's sun to ensure that he doesn't come Back from the Deadagain.
The Flash ran to the sun to toss a statue that was rendering a foe (being fought by Batman) invulnerable into it, reckoning the solar core would provide enough energy to destroy said statue. He used some kind of enormous luge system to launch himself out of the atmosphere and then started bouncing off asteroids. If that sounds weird, we're talking about a guy who can sometimes travel in time by running really fast - that was one of the ways he'd already tried to destroy the statue.
In What If? v2 #108, Silver Surfer was unable to overcome Carnage's possession. When he regains control for one minute, he suicides this way.
In the French comic Jules ou l'imparfait du futur, the good guys decide to launch a nuclear missile into the Sun, because they could only delay the launching one hour, not stopping it. In the end they can't launch it at all, and they must sacrifice the starship.
Subverted in Universal War One, the Big Bad sends a space station into the sun, not to destroy the station but to destroy the sun!
In The Tick, the Tick decides to dispose of a huge monolith by throwing it into the sun (because hey, that's what superheroes do.) When it lands about forty feet away, he and Arthur decide that's probably out of harm's way.
A running joke for Nobody Dies (it's even mentioned on its page) is that given the ludicrous amounts of damage Angels take before they die, final Angel Tabris will be killed by having the sun dropped on him. It's also a recurring joke for Terrifying Rei Meme Generator images.
Erico the Superbard'sMega Man X'' fanfics have his original characters making use of small, handheld teleport units to dispose of nukes and other hazardous material, by teleporting them close to the sun, where they'd be drawn in.
"Hm," Harry said. "Suppose you threw it into the Sun? Would it be destroyed?"
"It seems unlikely, Mr. Potter," Professor Quirrell said dryly. "The Sun is very large, after all; I doubt the Dementor would have much effect on it. But it is not a test I would like to try, Mr. Potter, just in case."
Superman rounds up all the nuclear weapons on Earth and throws them into the sun in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Unfortunately, Lex Luthor attaches a genetic matrix created from Superman's hair to the final nuclear missile, and when Superman throws it into the sun, the result is the creation of Nuclear Man, who Superman then has to fight.
In the Green Lantern film, Hal Jordan punchesParallax into the Sun to destroy it. This is set up since they were fighting right in front of the sun, and it was part of Kilowog's lecture.
As a population control measure, the Chinese government has sent 100 million Chinese cosmonauts on a one-way expedition to the Sun. The expedition exceeded expectations, as a further 200 million Chinese ground-control staff forgot to let go of the slingshot at the right time and were hurled up along with the spacecraft.
This is a common, but by no means universal, post-death ritual for members of Iain M. Banks's Culture, although apparently they have their mortal remains Displaced (i.e. teleported) directly into the very heart of a nearby star.
In Star Trek: New Frontier, the crew of the Excalibur tricks an enemy ship into flying into a star.
In the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, this is initially seen as a solution to the problem of the Dancing Star, a runaway spaceship. However, the Dancing Star is a very advanced ship designed to survive inside a sun. In fact, it dives into stars to refuel.
Coruscant's garbage system, shown in Rogue Planet, involved a complicated system designed to pitch garbage containers into orbit for delivery into the sun.
The Sun Crusher, an indestructible supernova-causing superweapon which would qualify as a Spaceship Sue if such a trope existed, was captured, shiny and barely used, by the New Republic in Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy of Star Wars Expanded Universe novels. After debating whether to drop it into a sun or a gas giant (the unstated but clear implication of the "a gas giant is good enough" argument being that some of the politicians in charge wanted there to be a possibility that they could recover it if they later deemed it necessary), they picked the gas giant. Later, when new uber-powerful Force Sensitive Kyp Durron got haunted and went evil, he fished it out using the Force and remarked that he wouldn't have had much more trouble if it had been in the sun. Later it's thrown into a black hole, this time for good.
In the New Jedi Order books, the Yuuzhan Vong fleet (emptied of crewmembers) is sent into Coruscant's sun after the Yuuzhan Vong surrender.
The Marching Morons ends with most of the earth's (by then rather dim) population migrating to Venus, lured by tales of idyllic countryside and delicious ham bushes. Needless to say, the rockets actually headed into the sun.
Anne McCaffrey does this in her Talents series: all the telekinetic Talents in the galaxy temporarily combine into a Hive Mind and throw a giant alien war machine into Deneb. Needless to say, the next alien race that approached humanity did so very cautiously.
In the Young Wizards series, Dairine actually chucks a black hole into the nearest sun.
The eponymous character in the Ray Bradbury short story "Rocket Man" meets an unfortunate ending when his rocket ship malfunctions and flies into the Sun. Another Bradbury story, "The Golden Apples Of the Sun" involves a space mission to retrieve stellar matter from the Sun.
In Vernor Vinge's Across Realtime sequence, people use stasis bubble generators that freeze anything inside a sphere for specified time. So it's usual way to get rid of your enemy that hides inside one by throwing him into the Sun (it's very hard to retrieve such a sphere, but it was done at least once).
Used to dispose of the eponymous device at the end of the early Isaac Asimov short story The Weapon Too Terrible To Use.
The hominem community uses this method to dispose of an orbiting nuclear bomb in David Palmer's Emergence.
In "Giant Killer" by A. Bertram Chandler, it turns out that "The People" are rats which have gained near-human intelligence through mutation, "The Giants" are humans (though the latter at least is probably obvious to the alert reader), and the "caves" in which they live are the hull of a spaceship. When "The People" become a serious menace to "The Giants", and voiding the air of the ship doesn't kill all of them, the last surviving "Giant" sends the ship into a star.
In Legends of Dune, when it becomes clear that he'll be killed by Iblis Ginjo's Secret Police for knowing the truth about the Tlulaxa organ farms, Xavier Harkonnen chooses to pilot the shuttle with Ginjo onboard into the nearest star. Sadly, this Heroic Sacrifice is twisted by Ginjo's wife and Dragon into high treason. Xavier's best friend Vorian Atreides chooses to keep the truth hidden "for the good of the Jihad" and allow the Harkonnen name to be despised and Ginjo to be elevated to martyrdom.
In Lilac Sphere by Kir Bulychev, the tituar sphere containing The Virus is destroyed this way. A Wizard Did It, literally. Bonus points to the wizard for actually doing all the math and tossing the sphere not directly into the Sun, but in right direction to negate orbital velocity, so it will invariably fall into.
Urn Burial by Robert Westall: this is the method by which the Fethethil dispose of their own bodies upon death and also how Theloc disposes of the body of Postie because the harka he was infected with by the Wawaka is incurable.
Done in a roundabout way in the John Bellairs novel The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge: the heroes magically propel the title beast's Soul Jar and a rivet from said bridge (with Anti-Magic properties) into space, and the beast itself follows them, with all three coming down on the Red Star, knocking it off course and into the sun.
Amy: Shall I run and get the manual? The Doctor: You can't. I threw it into a supernova. Amy: You threw the manual into a supernova? Why? The Doctor: Because I disagreed with it. Stop talking to me when I'm cross!
In "The Seeds of Death", the humans on board the moonbase send a signal to draw the invading Ice Warriors off course into the sun.
In Torchwood, Captain Jack dumped an alien invader into the sun as well, while making the timeless Goon Show joke about how they'd be fine, shouldn't be too hot there as it was night time.
At least he used a teleportation device, not a spaceship.
Lois and Clark: When Superman's clone asks the real Superman to destroy both him and the lock of hair from which he was cloned from, Superman picks him and the Petri dish up and we see them flying toward the sun. We don't actually see anything being tossed into it, but it's implied.
In a variant in one episode, Superman's skin is contaminated with a mass of microscopic radioactive particles that forces him to be in radiation proof containment on Earth. Here, the solution is to fly towards the sun, not to enter it, but just to enter its gravitational field to allow it to pull all the particles at once.
In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Operation - Annihilate!", a native tries launching himself into the sun to escape a Mind Control plague. Although it works, it only allows him to live just long enough to celebrate being free. However, this provides a vital clue for the successful resolution of the crisis.
It's interesting to note that the episode and the original script that was written in the "Star Trek Logs" books had two different reasons the sun worked: the episode had the parasites vulnerable to ultraviolet light; the script/book had the sun's intense magnetic fields pull the parasite out of the person (which was unfeasible to do to the infested planet, so they just annihilated the parasites' home planet).
Not a sun, but the initial event horizon of a Stargate (the big splashy thing when it first opens) can disintegrate pretty much anything. Very handy when disposing of some hazardous Imported Alien Phlebotinum. In SG-1 the team uses a gate to send a local star into supernova (by tossing a gate linked to a black hole into said star), which destabilizes the star into a supernova which obliterates most of Apophis' fleet.
Similarly, in Farscape, the first real glimpse we get of the destructive power of wormholes is when John opens one with one end in the middle of a star and the other in front of a Scarran ship, incinerating them instantly.
On Sliders the Sliders taught an alternate Earth how to build nuclear weapons to defend against a world-ending asteroid. The Conrad of that world is excited about the possibilities of their new atomic age, and when Arturo points out that having a nuclear reactor in every car would generate tons of nuclear waste, Conrad suggests launching the waste into the sun.
Arturo doesn't point out the logistical issues such a task would require (i.e. not nearly enough thrust to cancel out the orbital velocity) but instead brings up the possibility of the launch failing and contaminating the surrounding area with radioactive waste.
Done to the Megazord in Power Rangers Zeo. But the genius Billy has just invented Zeo Megazord's helmets, one of which gives the Megazord propulsion powers.
In Kamen Rider Wizard, the Phoenix Phantom has the power to resurrect himself, immune to whatever killed him last, and even a Rider with eight forms is gonna run out of Finishing Moves eventually. Worse, he comes back faster each time, and nears total invincibility by the time of their final encounter. What's a superhero to do? Upon gaining a ninth form with the powers of the others put together, Rider Kick him right into the sun, where even if he does become immune to the intense heat and pressure, he'll never be able to break its gravity and return to Earth.Pretty harsh, but you can't say it wasn't necessary.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century had a second season episode where the Searcher's crew met some midgets looking for a particular star and Cryton, Buck's unctuous Robot Buddy, tells them that star is regularly used for waste disposal.
Agents Of Shield shows this is apparently SHIELD's standard operating procedure for scary tech items. The launch facility for this is nicknamed "The Slingshot". Turns out all they sent into the sun was a lot of empty rockets; the items themselves were secretly deemed too valuable to destroy.
At a wild guess, Pink Floyd's "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" qualifies.
In epic level games of Dungeons & Dragons this is a possible, though not exactly easy (or effective) way of dispatching enemies. The epic spell Nailed to the Sky puts the target into orbit, while a combination of the Charm Person spell (or variants, to turn a target into an ally), the Fling Ally feat (to turn an ally into a projectile weapon), and the Distant Shot feat (to fire a ranged weapon at anything you can see, such as... say... the sun) lets you jump-start the space program.
Iris, the strongest summon in the Golden Sun games, attacks enemies by lifting them up and hurling them into the sun.
The most powerful unarmed attack in the firstDisgaea involves tearing up a section of the ground and shoving it (and the enemies on it, of course) into the sun. The second and further games upgraded it to punching target so hard that it turns into a black hole. Which then explodes.
Final Fantasy VIII ups the ante with the Eden summon by launching your enemies into a cannon and shooting them into the center of a galaxy - and then collapsing it (as in, the galaxy) around them.
In Unreal II: The Awakening, the protagonist eventually sends the central MacGuffin into a nearby star to ensure no-one can ever retrieve it again — it's proved to be basically indestructible thus far.
Prey: when Tommy takes control of the Sphere he destroys it by piloting it into the Sun.
Super Robot Wars Original Generations and OG Gaiden. Leave it to our favorite robot nerd, Ryusei Date, to come up with the most awesome way possible to invoke this troupe, shoot the enemy into the sun with the HTB cannon. He named it "The Heaven and Earth One Shot Sure Kill Cannon" for a reason. The resulting Tronium/solar fusion explosion is so big, it sends a massive shock wave through the whole SOLAR SYSTEM. Then, if you actually killed the enemy, the SRX sits back and watches the fireworks at the end. Plus points if you do this to one of the end bosses 9 times in a row.
This is how Bayonetta disposes of Jubileus. She punches her soul into the Sun. From the outer reaches of the solar system.
At the end of Super Mario Galaxy, Bowser is literally flung into the Sun after being defeated by Mario (and before it explodes and causes the universe to collapse). He does survive later on, however...
A variation in Space Rangers: one of possible ways to get rid of Terron is telling him to go and absorb a star. He doesn't return...
The above mentioned Astro Boy example is, of course, re-enacted as the final level of the beloved Game Boy Advance adaptation, Astro Boy: Omega Factor. In this version you actually have to fly into the sun, dodging chunks of the Final Boss, Asteroid Thicket-style to get a piece of scrap metal containing the AI of Astro's love interest into the sun so she can stop the pieces that have already fallen in from causing a chain reaction that'll destroy the solar system.
Bud from Wapsi Square disposes of the remains of the calendar machine this way in a deliberate, in universe homage to classic superheroes, It is rather noisy.
In Clan of the Cats, the only way to kill Dracula off for good by having a Christian impale him with a piece of the True Cross. Or you could stake him with a regular cross and portal his ashes into the sun.
Buck Godot is searching for the stolen Winslow, and suggests that the thief hid it in the garbage barges. When told that it would get hurled into the sun, he responds: "Can you think of a better place to hide a truly indestructible object?"
In Act 6 Intermission 1, Aradia wants to hold a funeral for the dead trolls, and she suggests that the ceremony should involve throwing their corpses into the nearby Green Sun. However, complications arise and the funeral doesn't happen.
In the alpha universe, Dave Strider made a massive fortune by manufacturing objects with 3-D jpeg artifacts. He made so much money that he could afford to dispose of his unsold waresnote i.e. all of them. No one actually bought Dave's jpeg artifacts—Dave made his fortune because these objects somehow had a negative manufacturing cost. by rocketing them into the sun.
In PS238, the S.I.I.T.S.-9000 is designed to throw things into the sun.
The SCP Foundation once attempted to dispose of the unstoppable monster known as SCP-682 using this method. It just made it angrier ...and on fire. The entry where this attempt is mentioned, SCP-1543-j is, for the most part, an extended parody of this trope that rarely seems to do much good.
In M.U.G.E.N, he does the reverse. He drops the sun on you!!!
As Goku and Superman's Death Battle reached its end, Goku attempted to blast Superman into the sun with a Kamehameha. While he was able to do it, he realized too late that not only did Superman survive, he gains power from absorbing solar radiation and being within the sun further amplified his powers.
In an earlier Death Battle, Thor vs Raiden, the loser's corpse ends up getting flung into the sun as well.
In the "Treehouse of Horror X" episode of The Simpsons, Homer and Bart stow away on a rocket that they think is taking humanity's best and brightest to another planet. It turns out they're actually on a rocket full of the dregs of humanity (including notorious celebrities such as Dr. Laura, Dan Quayle, Ross Perot, Courtney Love, Tom Arnold, Paulie Shore and Rosie O' Donnell), and have been launched towards the Sun. Once Bart and Homer realize their mistake, they open the airlock just to make the end come faster.
In "Three Men and a Comic Book" episode, Bart shows Lisa a Radioactive Man comic where he punched Dr. Crab into the sun, followed by RM saying "Hot enough for ya?"
One episode also featured a comic book where a Captain Ersatz of the Hulk kicked a tidal wave into the Sun.
One episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show has the titular duo pointing guns at each other that get larger and larger until they are half the size of the earth. The end result: Scratchy winds up being shout out of Itchy's gun, and into the sun.
Futurama had one in "The Farnsworth Parabox" where Hermes was going to throw a box that was a portal to (and contained) an alternate universe into the sun.
Farnsworth: Only the nuclear inferno of the sun has enough energy to ensure its total destruction!
Bender: I could hit it with a shovel.
Farnsworth: That's not good enough!
When Fry arrives in the future in the first episode, Leela tells him that if he doesn't do his assigned job of delivery boy he will be fired... out of a cannon, into the sun.
And, of course, this is the fate of the original big ball of garbage in the episode "A Big Piece of Garbage".
Fry: Aww, can't we just hurl it into the sun and say we delivered it?
Bender: That still sounds like to much work. Let's toss it out the airlock, and say we tossed it into the sun.
This almost happens to Manhattan after an outbreak of a once extinct disease (the common cold).
Only because they ran out of piranhas.
In Drawn Together, Captain Hero did this to his home planet. Subverted in another episode where he considers throwing guns into the sun but opts to flush them down a toilet instead.
In one episode of Rocko's Modern Life], Really Really Big Man tells a boy he's carrying that he'll throw a nuclear missile into the sun, then throws the boy by mistake.
In Justice League Unlimited's Grand Finale, Flash suggests this to Green Lantern when dealing with a giant, towering machine...then feels embarrassed for mentioning it, only to be told that it could work. Even though it "doesn't quite make escape velocity", it's still a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for both of them. This may have been an in-joke referencing a 2004 Usenet thread, where producer Dwayne McDuffie responded to a suggestion that the previous week's episode could have been resolved by tossing the menace into the sun: "Our version of Green Lantern can't, Power Rings are no where near as mighty as they are in the DCU. The Darkheart was simply too big and heavy. Although it does suggest a really interesting spin-off, where every week GL throws whoever is attacking into the sun."
In another episode, Hawkgirl makes a crack about AMAZO teleporting Solomon Grundy into the sun.
Inverted in "Eclipsed" when the (possessed) Justice League tries to get rid of the sun by throwing a MacGuffin into it. After getting better, they throw another one to reverse the effects.
X-Men: Jean Grey, as the Phoenix, flies into the sun with the M'Kraan Crystal.
In the Invader Zim episode "Planet Jackers," Zim has to stop a pair of aliens who want to use Earth to fuel their planet's dying sun.
In another episode, the Tallest sent Zim's ship flying toward the sun. He gets better.
In still another episode, Zim was seen experimenting with shooting chickens into orbit with a planned trajectory that intercepted the sun.
In one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), an artifact-powered spell is cast from a large tower to turn the world's population into snakemen. He-Man solves the crisis by lifting the entire tower and throwing it into the sun. This is tremendous case of Strong as They Need to Be as He-Man is called "the strongest man in the universe", but at no other point in the series does he demonstrate anything near that degree of super-strength.
In Exo Squad, that's where the human undesirables are sent into by the Neosapiens.
In an episode of South Park, Wendy thinks the substitute teacher has been hitting on her boyfriend, Stan. In response she somehow gets a bunch of Iraqis to arrest her under charges of being a fugitive then shoot her in to the sun. What makes it even funnier was that the teacher was a lesbian with no interest in Stan.
Captain Planet once disposed of a huge amount of nuclear waste by throwing it into the sun. He did this semi-frequently, especially with any episode involving Duke Nukem.
In an episode of The Magic School Bus, they disposed of an asteroid about to hit their school this way. Even though it had plainly taken days for it to reach Earth, the asteroid went from Earth orbit to the Sun in seconds (this was lampshaded in the phone segment).
An episode of Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! has Dr. Phibes plot to throw a group of octuplets who are more beautiful than him into the sun using a rocket.
In The Batman, Superman throws a lead can (he thought was) containing Kryptonite into the sun.
After humanity is duped into thinking they're really the bad guys, the Autobots are forced to leave Earth and go back to Cybertron. But Megatron reprograms the ship the carry them into the sun instead. He must have forgotten Cosmos turned into a flying saucer, who saved them with a giant energy net.
The Quintessons revive Optimus Prime as a zombie to destroy the Transformers, but his original personality starts to resurface, and he launches himself to the sun in a spaceship to stop their plot (he didn't get there, though his eventual return was Cut Short).
The "Best Spaceship Ever" skit from Robot Chicken has a kid dream up of a happy spaceship to put his abusive father in and use it to drive said father into the sun.
One DC Nation short has Bizarro taking over Superman's duties. When a villain attacks, Bizarro thinks that Superman would hurl the villain into the sun. Since he's supposed to do the opposite, he decides that he'll hurl the sun into the villain. It, uh, doesn't quite work...Turns out it's kind of hard to grab the sun.
Some scientists are considering this as a viable means of getting rid of nuclear waste. The actual amount of radioactive waste is relatively small, and by using a mass driver can be easily accelerated up to 30 km/s. Point this in the opposite direction of Earth's orbital velocity, and the waste will just fall into the Sun (which is already incredibly radioactive). Alternatively, point it the other way, and it'll escape the Solar System. The problems include this being very expensive - sending stuff out of Earth's gravity well costs a lot of money even when it's just a few people and their life-support supplies, never mind thousands of tons of solid waste per year - and extremely risky. One small error, and it's raining plutonium in the opposite hemisphere.
It's been noted that once orbital elevator technology (which would make delivering cargo into space safe and relatively cheap) is perfected, using the sun (or for that matter, anywhere that's not Earth) as disposal area for nuclear waste really would be viable. Though we're also getting better at recycling nuclear waste so maybe it'll be unnecessary by the time we're actually capable of doing it.
We are just about starting to get to the point where we actually can have a space probe reach the sun. As the leading scientist behind the project explains, this is an extremely difficult process mainly due to the need to slow down the orbital momentum this probe has from being launched from Earth and involves using the gravity of Venus to slow the probe down in a process of seven approaches to Venus over a period of six years.
May have been subverted by KOI 55.01 and KOI 55.02, two extrasolar planets thought to orbit the hot B subdwarf star KIC 05807616. Controversially, it's been hypothesized that these planets were engulfed by their star during its prior red giant phase, but actually survived this solar bath, to re-emerge when KIC 05807616 shed its outer surface and became a subdwarf.
Scientists have theorized that this might happen to the Earth one day: when the sun becomes a red giant it'll lose enough mass for the Earth to move away and not simply be consumed, however the new orbit could decay and as a result plummet into our dying star.