CEDAR email: EPSC-DPS conference 2019; session "Interstellar Probe: science, mission designs, opportunities and challenges"
owitasse at cosmos.esa.int
Wed Apr 3 03:50:34 MDT 2019
we would like to draw your attention to the EPSC-DPS (15-20 September
2019, Geneva) session:
"Interstellar Probe: science, mission designs, opportunities and
The session summary is copied below.
Thanks for considering submitting an abstract (deadline 8 May).
Olivier Witasse, for the convener
An Interstellar Probe mission would be the first dedicated mission to
venture into the unknown space between our star and other potentially
habitable planetary systems. The idea was first discussed dating back to
1960 and the concept has been studied by multiple groups since then. The
lack of propulsion technologies and launch vehicles have often presented
a stumbling block for NASA and other space agencies to move further with
these concepts. In 2016, a congressional report recommended NASA to take
the enabling steps for an Interstellar scientific probe. A new
NASA-funded study is under way to design a pragmatic Interstellar Probe
mission with a goal of reaching 1000 AU within 50 years using available
or near-term technology. The study objectives are to identify compelling
science targets, develop realistic mission concepts and evaluate
critical technologies. The cross-disciplinary science targets include
exploration of the Very Local Interstellar Medium and its interaction
with the heliosphere, characterization of the circum-solar dust disk,
exploration of previously unexplored Kuiper Belt Objects, and
observation of the extragalactic background light beyond the zodiacal
cloud. A vantage point far away from the solar system, naturally enables
these observations to be put in the context of other exoplanetary
systems and astrospheres. At the same time, Chinese scientists are
studying with their space agency CNSA a scenario in which two
“Heliospheric Boundary Explorers” would be launched 6 years apart, one
towards the “nose” of the Heliosphere, one in the direction of its
putative tail, to address scientific objectives partly similar to the
ones described in the NASA study. Not only will the synergies between
these two missions be particularly valuable, but also both of them will
offer unique opportunities for broad international collaborations,
including European contributions.
This session will welcome reports on the unique science discoveries
enabled by missions to the Interstellar Medium beyond heliospheric
boundaries and will discuss their design concepts, enabling technologies
and programmatic challenges.
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