Where are the Voyager probes going next

Voyager probes: Interstellar space even stranger than thought

In addition, Voyager 2 was able to confirm that plasma crosses from both sides of the heliopause to the other side. Before Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause, it flew through foothills of interstellar particles that had made their way into the heliopause like tree roots growing through rocks. Voyager Two, on the other hand, observed a trickle of low-energy particles that extended more than 160 million kilometers beyond the heliopause.

Another mystery emerged when Voyager 1 approached the heliopause approximately 1.3 billion kilometers. There the probe entered a comparatively static area in which the solar wind slowed down enormously. Before crossing the heliopause, Voyager 2 observed a completely different area, but it was about as powerful as the comparatively static area that Voyager 1 had crossed.

"That's pretty, pretty strange," said Koehn. "It really shows us that we need more data."

Interstellar follow-up mission?

To solve this puzzle, scientists need a better overall picture of the heliosphere. Their shape is still unknown due to lack of data. It may be roughly spherical due to the pressure of the interstellar medium. But it is just as possible that it has a tail like a comet or is shaped more like a croissant.

At the moment, other space probes are already on their way out of the solar system, but they will not be able to send any data from the heliopause. NASA's New Horizons probe moves through the solar system at more than 50,000 km / h. If you run out of energy in the 2030s, the data flow from the probe to Earth will also dry up - more than 1.6 billion kilometers from the outer edge of the heliosphere. That's why scientists want to launch another interstellar probe. The goal: A 50 year long mission spanning several generations, which explores the outer regions of the solar system and advances into unknown areas beyond the solar wind.