Scientific Payload for an Interstellar Probe Mission

R. A. Mewaldt, P. C. Liewer, Interstellar Probe Science the Interstellar Probe Science, R. Mewaldt, P. Liewer, E. Bakes, P. Frisch, H. Funsten, M. Gruntman, L. Johnson, R. Jokipii, W. Kurth, J. Linsky, R. Malhotra, I. Mann, R. McNutt, E. Moebius, W. Reach, S. Suess, A. SzaboJ. Trainor, G. Zank, T. Zurbuchen, S. Gavit, V. Jones, J. Ling, G. Mucklow, D. Stone, D. Goodwin, E. Loh, B. Heber, C. Maccone, J. Ayon, E. De Jong, N. Murphy, R. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Although most of the instruments required for this mission have considerable flight heritage and could be built today, all would benefit from new technology in order to optimize the scientific return within the very restrictive weight and power resources. In addition, exciting instrument concepts such as the molecular analyzer will require considerable development. The most critical technology needed to carry out the mission described here is solar sail propulsion. Although solar sails have been studied extensively, (e.g., Wright 1992), they have never flown in space. Indeed, to achieve the spacecraft velocities envisioned here will require rather advanced sails that will have to be tested in one or more flight demonstrations (e.g., Wallace 1999). Fortunately, several other missions can also benefit from solar-sail propulsion (see, e.g., Mulligan et al. 2000). If this program is successful, launch could be as early as 2010, and Interstellar Probe can serve as the first step in a more ambitious program to explore the outer solar system and nearby galactic neighborhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-464
Number of pages14
JournalCOSPAR Colloquia Series
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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