Our solar system is surrounded by a kind of bubble, a protective screen, called the heliosphere. The boundary zone, where the solar wind flows from our native star, collide with alien radiation from interstellar space. What exactly happens there, how these elements interact with each other and what is threatened by space flight to that area – all this is chosen to study the new large mission of NASA.
For its implementation, a spacecraft will be built, which will deliver a set of 10 fundamentally new measuring instruments to the Lagrange-1 point. It is located 1.6 million km from the Earth in the direction of the Sun, where, since 1995, a very useful Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has been running that allows fixing gusts of the solar wind an hour before they reach Earth.
And although the main subject of research are processes on the boundary of the heliosphere, far from the Earth, the Lagrange point is chosen because it will allow the apparatus to remain stable relative to our planet and the Sun. At the first stage, scientists are very interested in particles and radiation that have already passed through the heliosphere barrier, but have not yet reached Earth. You can draw an analog with the penetration of a shell armor – how does its movement and structure change when moving in the zabronevom space?
The second important direction of the new mission is to study the very interstellar radiation, which is extremely heterogeneous, comes from a variety of sources and is considered one of the main threats for flights to the outer space. The mission is scheduled to start in 2024 .