A promising new work is underway to pursue an interstellar robotic mission in deep space.
This project is called Interstellar Probe, and this project can capture a unified vision for us heliospherein a close place interstellar space. All this sounds very noble, ambitious and difficult to implement.
But there’s no need to wait for new technology, advocates say — it’s here, and one of the mission’s chosen supporters could be NASA. space launch system (SLS).
“It’s not about where we’re going. It’s about the journey there. And it’s a long-awaited journey now,” says physicist Ralph McNutt, Jr. at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.
As now envisioned in a recent study, the Interstellar Probe will use today’s technology to take the explicit first step on the path of interstellar exploration, and could pave the way scientifically, technically, and programmatically for more ambitious future flights—and to conquer more—science goals.
Moreover, with a new class of super-heavy-lift launch vehicles in operation — notably NASA’s SLS — a scientifically compelling stellar probe mission could now become a reality.
“Our team put in a lot of work to make sure the study was as comprehensive and detailed as possible, while presenting a ‘wide net’ of possibilities. We are eagerly looking forward to what our colleagues in the Decadal Survey of Heliophysics and Space Physics have to do,” says McNutt.
The interstellar probe is a decades-long mission to reach several hundred probes astronomical units (AU) away from a land providing new standardized measurements of conditions throughout the heliosphere and across the heliosphere – the outer envelope of the bubble of charged particles around us Sun.
We already have the technology to travel as far and as fast as possible: the cargo version of the Block 2 SLS can be used to carry the spacecraft as well as the third and fourth stage rocket boosters. Solar System Escape velocities of at least twice that of Voyager 1 – up to 7.2 AU per year – must be feasible with this system.
Launching an external probe on such an adventure has been under discussion for nearly half a century, McNutt said. With the 40-year-old Voyagers close their service life As their energy supply continues to dwindle, he said, further progress will require new initiative.
the farthest being
“We, the human race, have been moving further and further away from the sun since the launch of the Pioneer 10 in 1972. Since then, there is Always “The outermost being” was moving outward into the solar system and into regions beyond.”
Sometime in the next decade, Voyagers will be silent. This is a matter of physics, engineering, and “cold equations,” McNutt added.
“So the question is: Does that also portend a reversal of transcendence of knowledge, or at least hand the wand to a different player on this planet? We are making history for future generations,” McNutt said, and we do it by our actions every day we live. So who are we to deny subsequent generations the next step to the stars? why now? Rather: why not now? “
“I think the Interstellar Probe is a great concept centaur dreams (Opens in a new tab) – Imagine and plan interstellar exploration. He said it’s a mission that could take us to 1,000 astronomical units in 50 years, and give us a view from which to see the Sun’s atmosphere from the outside.
“In this sense, it is a heliophysics mission as well as a deep space mission that has implications for future exploration. Learning more about the heliosphere, in turn, tells us more about solar windA potential source of payment for the future sailboatsand its interactions with interstellar conditions,” Gilster told Space.com.
Gilster said the stellar probe needs to be seen in context.
At the moment there are two NASA Voyager spacecraft, and at some point they will be joined by NASA new Horizons probe.
But neither of these missions nor the previous NASA Pioneer spacecraft were built to study space outside our solar system, the region known as the Local Interstellar Medium. “The stellar probe will be the first mission whose instrumentation is explicitly designed with this mission in mind,” Gilster said.
Gilster said he often hears objections when he talks about the interstellar probe: Is this just Voyager Plus? And who wants to wait 50 years for data? But he said these are wrong assumptions.
Interstellar Probe is an entirely new class of tasks designed to perform well outside of the realm of Kuiper belt. The 50-year period is a goal of 1,000 astronomical units and is based on optimistic ideas about how to find the necessary “delta-V” – the amount of “effort” required to change from one path to another by performing an orbital maneuver.
“But the point is, the interstellar probe will do the science along the way,” Gilster said. “We will learn a lot more than Voyagers can tell us every year that this mission flies, not only around the interstellar medium but also about long-lived electronics, deep space communications and the nature of our sun’s travels across galaxy With a protective sun cover. We will also have abundant targets to study as the stellar probe moves through the outer solar system and the abundant Kuiper Belt objects. “
deep space introduction
Gilster envisions the interstellar probe as a precursor to deeper space, because humanity will eventually want to use future technologies to push into the world. Oort cloud Comets to explore this vast largely unknown region.
“I think it’s quite fitting that Ralph McNutt, a veteran of Voyager who has done so much for our species’ exploration of the solar system, should be the principal investigator on the first probe designed to leave that system,” Gilster said. “I wish him and his team at APL the best of luck as they navigate the approval process that must follow.”
For a detailed look at how to perform this task, read the team’s post »Interstellar Probe – Destination: The Universe (Opens in a new tab)! in Acta Astronautica magazine.
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