Future Exploration of the Outer Heliosphere and Very Local Interstellar Medium by Interstellar Probe

P. C. Brandt, E. Provornikova, S. D. Bale, A. Cocoros, R. DeMajistre, K. Dialynas, H. A. Elliott, S. Eriksson, B. Fields, A. Galli, M. E. Hill, M. Horanyi, T. Horbury, S. Hunziker, P. Kollmann, J. Kinnison, G. Fountain, S. M. Krimigis, W. S. Kurth, J. LinskyC. M. Lisse, K. E. Mandt, W. Magnes, R. L. McNutt, J. Miller, E. Moebius, P. Mostafavi, M. Opher, L. Paxton, F. Plaschke, A. R. Poppe, E. C. Roelof, K. Runyon, S. Redfield, N. Schwadron, V. Sterken, P. Swaczyna, J. Szalay, D. Turner, H. Vannier, R. Wimmer-Schweingruber, P. Wurz, E. J. Zirnstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

A detailed overview of the knowledge gaps in our understanding of the heliospheric interaction with the largely unexplored Very Local Interstellar Medium (VLISM) are provided along with predictions of with the scientific discoveries that await. The new measurements required to make progress in this expanding frontier of space physics are discussed and include in-situ plasma and pick-up ion measurements throughout the heliosheath, direct sampling of the VLISM properties such as elemental and isotopic composition, densities, flows, and temperatures of neutral gas, dust and plasma, and remote energetic neutral atom (ENA) and Lyman-alpha (LYA) imaging from vantage points that can uniquely discern the heliospheric shape and bring new information on the interaction with interstellar hydrogen. The implementation of a pragmatic Interstellar Probe mission with a nominal design life to reach 375 Astronomical Units (au) with likely operation out to 550 au are reported as a result of a 4-year NASA funded mission study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Volume219
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Interstellar medium
  • Interstellar probe
  • Outer heliosphere

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