Interstellar Precursor Mission

Interstellar Precursor Mission is the first in-depth analysis of an interstellar precursor mission, described by Leonard Jaffe and others in 1977.1, 2 The mission called for a spacecraft that could reach a distance of 370 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun in 20 years after launch and 1,030 AU in 50 years after launch, using a nuclear-electric propulsion system. Key goals would be to measure the solar wind and the interaction region between the solar wind and the interstellar medium, with the aim of characterizing near interstellar space. In 1990, the Interstellar Precursor Mission was revised as one of three "frontier probes" concepts to explore the global heliosphere and local interstellar space. Of these three, the "fields and particles" Interstellar Probe was endorsed for further study. See also interstellar probes.



1. Jaffe, L. D., et al., "An Interstellar Precursor Mission," JPL Publication 77-70, 1977.
2. Jaffe, L. D., and Ivie, C. V., "Science Aspects of a Mission Beyond the Planets," Icarus, 39: 486, 1979.