We have systematically investigated the thermal and particle stability of several state-of-the-art EUV multilayer coatings suitable for use in high-performance solar instrumentation. Our research has been motivated principally by the performance requirements for extreme solar missions such as Solar Orbiter, an approved ESA mission with an expected launch date of 2013. The goal of this particular mission is to explore the solar atmosphere with both in situ and remote sensing instrumentation at a close encounter. At perihelion the mission will reach 0.2 A.U. providing a unique viewpoint where the instruments can both 'see' and 'feel' the dynamic atmosphere. But the orbit is technically challenging- no remote sensing instrument has been put in such close proximity to the Sun before. Furthermore, the thermal and particle environment will not only be severe but will suffer huge fluctuations as the elliptical orbit changes from 0.2 A.U. to 1.1 A.U. Several of the remote sensing packages on the strawman payload of the mission contain multilayer coatings, thus the stability of these coatings to the expected thermal and particle environment must be established. In this paper, we investigate the impact on the integrity of several candidate EUV multilayer coatings after long-term thermal annealing, and upon exposure to energetic protons and neutrons. In summary, we find no significant degradation in any of the multilayer samples tested. These results suggest that the multilayers we have studied can be safely used for Solar Orbiter or other extreme solar missions.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.