Minimum requirements for a solar probe mission

W. I. Axford, W. H. Ip, J. F. McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A minimum approach is considered for a solar probe mission making use of a probe/bus combination. In order to achieve the fundamental information required for the final understanding of solar wind acceleration and coronal heating - within a low cost envelope, the scientific merits and technical feasibilities of a set of appropriate experiments are evaluated. The total instrument package could weigh ≲ 10 kg with a total power consumption of < 30 watts. In this mission concept a carrier will bring the solar probe to swing past Jupiter and then release it at a distance between 0.3 and 1 AU to minimize the thermal and mechanical constraints. Also, as in the case of planetary atmosphere probes, batteries could be used to facilitate the probe measurements during the solar encounter. By the same token, batteries and solar cells could power the bus itself without the requirement of a RTG. Such a modular approach with clean interfaces and well-defined responsibilities is also advantageous to international cooperation. Finally, it is important that in order to have a clear picture of the origin of the high speed solar wind, the solar probe must reach its perihelion near solar minimum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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