Four decades have passed since Voyager 1 and 2 probes They left Earth to travel into deep space and become the furthest human objects ever. Now, a new interstellar probe aims to overcome them and send us the first photo of the Solar System … from outside the Solar System.
At the moment called “interstellar probe”, it is a concept that has not yet been realized. The European Union of Geosciences with a group of more than 500 astronomers, scientists and engineers is the one who will be in charge of designing it in its entirety. Once they receive the approval and budget from NASA and other collaborating space agencies. The objective is clear: be the farthest object sent by the human being throughout its history.
1,000 astronomical units
Voyager 1 is currently about 152 astronomical units (distance between the Sun and Earth) from us, about 22.741 million kilometers. Voyager 2 for its part is 126 astronomical units (and at its last), which is almost 19,000 million kilometers. The new interstellar probe hopes to go even further, to 1,000 astronomical units.
As explained by the team behind the project, seek to better explore and understand the heliosphere of the Solar System, the last region around the Solar System beyond Pluto that is still affected by solar winds and radiation from the Sun. Ultimately, the interstellar probe will send a photo of our Solar System once it reaches the heliosphere.
It is expected to reach the limit of the Solar System in about 15 years (Its useful life is raised for 50 years), the Voyagers for example arrived there in 35 years from its launch. On the other hand we have New Horizon, the other interstellar probe that right now is a little beyond Pluto and was launched in 2006. The new interstellar probe hopes to outshine all of them with new technology and better capabilities.
Currently, the project is in the final year of a four-year pragmatic conceptual study where the team investigates what could be accomplished with the mission. A report will be delivered to NASA at the end of the year to see if it takes place and receives funding. In that case, the mission could launch in the early 2030s.
Via | EurekAlert!