Best Route for Humans to Exit Solar System Discovered

Thank you to the IT Home users for submitting the clues!

On April 1st, it was reported that all planets in our solar system are surrounded by a huge bubble formed by charged particles constantly emitted by the sun. This bubble is known as the heliosphere, and its boundary marks the edge of our solar system.

Image Source: Pexels

Therefore, if we want to leave the solar system and travel to other stars, we first need to find a way to cross the heliosphere. A research team claims to have discovered the best route through this enormous bubble.

The heliosphere protects everything inside it, including planets, astronauts, satellites, and other celestial bodies, from dangerous radiation from space. However, scientists are still unsure of its exact shape or size.

Scientists simply define the heliosphere as the region directly influenced by the Sun. Some believe this bubble is crescent-shaped, while others think it’s spherical. There are also many who envision it as bullet-shaped or beach ball-shaped.

The confusion arises because when we are inside it, we cannot determine the exact shape of an object. “We are like goldfish trying to understand the fishbowl from the inside,” said Sarah A. Spitzer, the lead author of this study and a researcher at the University of Michigan.

This is why many scientists worldwide, including the authors of this study, have been developing mission concepts to show how interstellar probes can exit the heliosphere and observe it from the outside.

Spitzer added, “Future interstellar probe missions will give us the first real opportunity to see our heliosphere from the outside, our home, and better understand its position in the local interstellar medium.”

These mission concepts detail the spacecraft, payloads, and trajectories needed. For example, a mission concept report from 2021 suggested, “The probe should fly along a trajectory approximately 45 degrees in front of the direction of the solar wind, ultimately allowing it to leave the bubble.”

However, this new study claims that for a probe to exit the heliosphere, it must fly along a path through the rear side of the heliosphere. They compared six probe trajectories from head to tail and found that the maximum output and clearer observation of the heliosphere’s shape are achieved when the probe exits through the tail.

In August and September 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 and Voyager 1 spacecraft to study interstellar space. The missions were successful, making these spacecraft the first artificial objects to cross the heliosphere.

The Voyager probes were designed with a lifespan of only five years but are still operational. As of March 2024, they are approximately 15 billion miles away from Earth. However, they are no longer able to detect plasma activity from our Sun, hence unable to provide any information about the heliosphere.

A mission concept report from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory suggests that humans should aim to design a probe with a lifespan of 50 years. Such a probe would provide valuable information about the heliosphere and could cover interstellar distances ranging from 30 to 90 billion miles.

This research was published in the journal “Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences.”

Advertising Disclaimer: This article contains outbound links (including but not limited to hyperlinks, QR codes, passwords, etc.) for providing more information, saving selection time. All articles on IT Home contain this disclosure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.