Space & Astronomy
Scientists propose interstellar space mission
By T.K. Randall
November 1, 2019 · 2 comments
Voyager 1 and 2 were just the beginning. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
A space probe designed to venture into the interstellar void could launch within as little as ten years.
To date only two spacecraft have ever gone beyond the confines of our solar system - Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 - a pair of historic probes that have been traveling now for over four decades.
While these ageing machines have already taught us more than anyone could have hoped for, their functionality is now very limited and it remains unclear how long they will continue to operate.
Most spacecraft are not designed to run for decades and neither of the Voyager probes were built with long-term interstellar travel in mind - their original objective was to explore the gas giants.
But what if we could build a probe specifically designed to leave the solar system ?
During this year's International Astronautical Congress on October 25th, scientists discussed how such an adventurous undertaking could be achieved using today's technology.
To reach the necessary speeds, the spacecraft would need to perform multiple planetary flybys.
Its goal would be to study interstellar space, investigate Kuiper Belt objects beyond the orbit of Neptune and to examine our solar system as a singular entity from far, far away.
It would be mankind's first dedicated venture into the depths of interstellar space.
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