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NEW YORK — The Interstellar Probe, an ambitious concept to journey toward the edge of the solar system, is inching closer to becoming a reality. During a panel event held at The Explorers Club here on Oct. 17, scientists discussed the idea of sending a spacecraft 90 billion miles (145 billion kilometers) away from the sun.
Earth and its sibling planets bob around our solar system like goldfish in a bowl, which, in this case, is a boundary produced by the sun. Now, imagine if a fish could send a probe outside the bowl to learn about its place in your living room. This funny thought is a bit like the idea behind the Interstellar Probe.
Instruments - Edge - Heliosphere - Sun - Region
Sending scientific instruments to the edge of the heliosphere, or the sun's region of influence, is like going to the edge of a fish bowl. Getting outside the heliosphere and looking back at the solar system — beyond the bowl — could inform a whole new scientific perspective about our place in the cosmos.
NASA's twin Voyager probes have sailed beyond our solar bubble into interstellar space.
Space - Technology - Science - Missions - Investigations
Space technology has evolved to enable new science missions. Groundbreaking investigations have been supported by tech ranging from orbiting space telescopes to the cameras onboard up-close-and-personal missions like Cassini, Juno and New Horizons, which have taken incredibly sharp images of Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto, respectively.
"What we've never done is take a spacecraft and put it outside of our entire solar system," Jason Kalirai, an astrophysicist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Maryland, said during the panel.
Sun - Region - Earth - Comets - Planets
The sun influences a region around itself where Earth, comets and other planets move about. This "bubble" acts like a barrier to keep out dangerous cosmic radiation and keep in the charged particles released by the sun, which are essential for plants...
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