Opportunities for Astrophysical Science from the Inner and Outer Solar System
Astrophysical measurements away from the 1 AU orbit of Earth can enable several astrophysical science cases that are challenging or impossible to perform from Earthbound platforms, including: building a detailed understanding of the extragalactic background light throughout the electromagnetic spectrum; measurements of the properties of dust and ice in the inner and outer solar system; determinations of the mass of planets and stellar remnants far from luminous stars using gravitational microlensing; and stable time-domain astronomy. Though potentially transformative for astrophysics, opportunities to fly instrumentation capable of these measurements are rare, and a mission to the distant solar system that includes instrumentation expressly designed to perform astrophysical science, or even one primarily for a different purpose but capable of precise astronomical investigation, has not yet been flown. In this White Paper, we describe the science motivations for this kind of measurement, and advocate for future flight opportunities that permit intersectional collaboration and cooperation to make these science investigations a reality.
Submitted - 1903.05729.pdf