STELLA Science for Interstellar Probe

Robert F. Wimmer-Schweingruber*, Stas Barabash, Nicolas André, Pontus C. Brandt, Luciano Iess, Benoit Lavraud, Ralph McNutt, Elena Provornikova, Eric Quemerais, Robert Wicks, Martin Wieser, Peter Wurz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Stella is a proposed European contribution to NASA's Interstellar Probe (ISP), a large-strategic mission candidate. Traveling at a speed of 7 au/year ISP will reach 350 au during its nominal 50-year life-time. ISP's main goal is to understand our habitable astrosphere and its home in the galaxy. Stella contributes to achieving the ISP goal by answering five Stella-specific science questions: • Q1: What is the composition of the local interstellar medium? • Q2: How is our dynamical heliosphere upheld and how does it change from the Sun to the local interstellar medium? • Q3: What is the origin and role of galactic cosmic rays in the solar system and beyond? • Q4: How does the local interstellar medium become structured when it meets the heliosphere? • Q5: Are there any deviations from the 1/r gravity law on the interstellar scale? Stella assumes a model European ISP payload: a neutral gas mass spectrometer, plasma package, cosmic ray spectrometer, UV spectrograph, and radio science (utilizing the S/C radio for the fundamental physics question). We will review the science case for this potential European payload complement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberx73530
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2022
Event73rd International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2022 - Paris, France
Duration: 18 Sept 202222 Sept 2022

Cite this