NASA has revealed details about its new Interstellar Probe project, which will continue the work on the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions, which began in 2012 and 2018, respectively. In summary, the objective of the mission is to collect more information about the heliosphere, the peripheral region of the Sun that is filled by the solar wind. To this end, the spacecraft will be launched at an impressive distance of 1000 astronomical units from the star.
According to NASA, one of the objectives of the Interstellar Probe mission is to capture images of our Solar System “from the outside”. The space agency, however, also intends to study places never explored by humans. The expectations for the project, therefore, are very high.
Among the mysteries the mission aims to solve is how the Sun’s plasma interacts with interstellar gas to create the heliosphere. The team responsible for the Interstellar Probe, until now formed by 500 specialists, still aims to unveil how stars from neighboring galaxies interact, by understanding the interaction between the Sun and the Milky Way.
Studies on the Sun
But, after all, why are studies on the Sun and the heliosphere so relevant? In short, the heliosphere is crucial for maintaining life on Earth, as it protects the Solar System from high-energy cosmic rays.
This is not, however, the only motivator for the mission: research suggests new movements of the Sun. According to some researchers, the star is moving towards something known as “Local Interstellar Cloud” and, consequently, entering a new one. space region. The theory has not yet been confirmed and it is not known how this change could affect life on Earth.
Currently, the project is in the last year of study. A report will be delivered to NASA in late 2021 and the Interstellar Probe mission is due to go into space a few years later, in early 2030.