Engineers at NASA's Marshal Space Flight Center want to build a high-speed interstellar probe by 2010 that leaves beyond the area of space exposed to the sun.
The Voyager-1 and 2 and Pioneer-10 and 11 probes have exceeded the physical limits of the Solar System, but when moving very slowly, significant distances will be too old to walk. Therefore, faster probes are being designed. The new probes will be able to perform 250 astronomical units (an astronomical unit is 150 million km) for 15 years, with a maximum speed of 93 km/s.
To do this, NASA engineers want to use the technology called "solar candles", that is, systems that move taking advantage of the pressure of the photons emitted by the Sun. The "solar candles" will be made of reflective material composed of carbon fibres, with an open fan propeller shape and diameter exceeding 400 m.
If the technology is appropriate, the distance traveled by the old probes for 41 years will be 8 years. The "solar candles" that do not need fuel can be a way to see closely what is beyond Pluto.