The Science with the Interstellar Heliopause Probe
15 Jun 2006
1Institut für Theoretische Physik IV, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
2Institut für Experimentelle und Angewandte Physik, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany
3Kayser-Threde GmbH, Space Technology and Utilization Section, 81379 Munich, Germany
Abstract. After the exciting in-situ observations of the termination shock and the entry of the Voyager 1 spacecraft in the heliosheath, there is a growing awareness of the significance of the physics of the outer heliosphere. Its understanding helps to clarify the structure of our immediate interstellar neighbourhood, contributes to the clarification of fundamental astrophysical processes like the acceleration of charged particles at a steller wind termination shock, and also sheds light on the question to what extent interstellar-terrestrial relations are important for the environment of and on the Earth. Consequently, there are new seriously discussed suggestions for sending a modern spacecraft into the heliosheath and beyond. One of those candidates is the Interstellar Heliopause Probe (IHP) that has been studied in a Technology Reference Study by ESA/ESTEC. Here, we discuss the science objectives and expected scientific performance of this mission.