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The Interstellar Probe Would Go Deeper In Space

A four-year-in-the-making mission idea for an Interstellar probe will go beyond the Voyager Interstellar Mission. It sent two spacecraft into orbit around the sun in the 1970s and are now the farthest human-made objects. The project’s team presented their proposal today at the European Geosciences Union’s annual general assembly.

This probe will travel through the heliosphere of the solar system, which is the region surrounding us where the Sun’s solar winds fill space with radiation and magnetic fields. (The magnetosphere on Earth protects us from a lot of this, and the lack of one on Mars and Venus is evident in their divergent planetary evolution). The heliosphere also serves as a shield for our solar system from Interstellar radiation to some degree.

Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977 and is now over 152 astronomical units away from us (one AU is the average distance between the Sun and Earth), is the farthest human-made object from Earth. In simpler terms, Voyager 1 has traveled more than 14 billion miles, while Voyager 2 has traveled more than 11.7 billion miles. The New Horizons spacecraft, which was launched in 2006, is now just beyond Pluto.

The planned exploration, which would start in the early 2030s, would take 15 years to reach the heliosphere limit, compared to the Voyagers’ 35-year journey. The probe will be designed to last 50 years, with the ultimate goal of reaching 1,000 astronomical units beyond our Sun, dwarfing past human spacecraft and delving into the Interstellar medium—the vast vacuum beyond our Sun’s reaches.

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