A NASA-funded study is preparing to launch a probe to study the protective bubble the sun brings to the solar system and then explore the interstellar space that extends beyond, according to scientific presentations on Monday.
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Interstellar Probe will go into local interstellar space, which is unknown, and which humanity has never yet reached.
Elena Provornikova, a head of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, which is leading the study, said in a statement. This zone extends far beyond the heliosphere, the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun, against which the highly energetic particles of rays coming from the cosmos strand against. It was crossed by only two probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, in 2011 and 2018, after a journey of several decades. But the two twins, who were not originally intended to embark on such a journey, come to the end of the race. The probe imagined by Johns Hopkins, with the blessing of NASA, is up to the challenge.
Its battery of instruments will make it possible to study the mechanisms governing the heliosphere, and in particular solar activity and the interstellar environment. Scientists in charge of the study, who are planning a departure in the 2030s, predict that the machine can travel at more than 130,000 km / h, according to a presentation by Pontus Brandt, scientific director of the Johns Hopkins laboratory. With a speed of the double of Voyager 1, it would reach the limit of the heliosphere in sixteen years. Before sinking into the deep void up to more than 150 billion kilometers from the blue planet.