Saturday, December 31, 2005

Interstellar probe Bound for Uncharted Space

If NASA's Insterstellar Probe ever gets off the ground, it will signal a new age of space travel, even as commercial space travel is being born.

The idea is to launch a probe equiped with a giant solar sail and set course for the Space beyond the confines of our Solar System. In all it will travel about 400 AU. The edge of our Solar System, or heliopause, ends at around 150 AU. Five times faster than the Voyager 1 probe, the Interstellar Probe will travel more than 200 AU in just 15 years.

(If you don't know an AU is an Astronomical Unit--or the distance from the Sun to the Earth, about 93 million miles.)

It will be the first craft to pass completely outside the influence of our Sun, completely outside our Solar System and it will mark a Human Milestone unlike any that have come before it...

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