NASA Proposed A 100-Year Interstellar Mission To Leave Solar System

NASA and other scientists presented a new interstellar mission that would travel farther than any mission, taking up to 100 years to reach its destination. Other than Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and New Horizons no other spacecraft has ever left the solar system. But these three spacecraft were designed to study the most distant planets of our solar system and not to explore what is beyond.

Passing Neptune, Pluto, the dwarf planets, and even beyond the Kuiper belt, we find the heliopause, the outbound regions of the heliosphere. The heliosphere is formed by solar wind and solar plasma. The heliosphere is a massive protective solar atmosphere that reaches the ends of our system.

Related: NASA Releases New Details Of Its Private Mission To The Space Station

NASA and scientists from the John Hopkins University want to travel well beyond the Sun’s influence. They say their spacecraft is the boldest, fastest, and with the farthest destination ever ambitioned. Its destination is the space between us and the closest stars. The mission could take up to 100 years. The team says that the only way to solve the heliosphere mysteries and understand how it protects habitable planets is by looking at it from the outside.

The interstellar probe mission is at advanced stages of design. The team released a complex and detailed 500-page plan. The plan includes information on everything from launch, to flybys, and scientific questions to answer. One of the greatest challenges is the duration of the journey. Teams now working on the project do not expect to live to see the results. “If you're into instant gratification, do not get involved with space exploration," Ralph McNutt from Johns Hopkins University told the press. The team calls for a rolling management and science team plan to be developed. But it’s not just human age that worries the team. Voyagers 1 and 2 have had to shut down most of their scientific equipment due to the weakening of their nuclear batteries. Given the distance, the Interstellar probe cannot be powered with solar energy. But NASA is developing next-generation nuclear power batteries.

The timing to explore the outer layers of the Sun could not be better. After 60 thousand years our Sun, our solar system, and our heliosphere are leaving a region known as the Local Interstellar Cloud. The solar system is moving into a new environment. Scientists believe that the heliospheres define solar systems and everything in them. Since the solar system began taking shape 4.6 billion years ago, our heliosphere has been acting as a shield protecting us as the solar system journeys through the galaxy. Understanding the heliosphere could be a monumental breakthrough for science and a step closer to other stars. “It is time, the Interstellar probe can be made ready for launch, we write the history of future generations and the road to the stars awaits,” NASA and the mission team says.

Next: NASA Wants To 3D-Print Human Organs In Space & It's Ready To Start Testing

Source: Interstellar Probe, BBC

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