NASA Selects Proposals for New Space Environment Missions

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NASA Selects Proposals for New Space Environment Missions

Post by bystander » Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:40 pm

NASA Selects Proposals for New Space Environment Missions
NASA Press Release | 2020 Aug 28

NASA has selected five proposals for concept studies of missions to help improve understanding of the dynamics of the Sun and the constantly changing space environment with which it interacts around Earth. The information will improve understanding about the universe as well as offer key information to help protect astronauts, satellites, and communications signals – such as GPS – in space. ...

Solar-Terrestrial Observer for the Response of the Magnetosphere (STORM)

STORM would provide the first-ever global view of our vast space weather system in which the constant flow of particles from the Sun – known as the solar wind – interacts with Earth's magnetic field system, called the magnetosphere. Using a combination of observation tools that allow both remote viewing of Earth's magnetic fields and in situ monitoring of the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field, STORM would track the way energy flows into and throughout near-Earth space. Tackling some of the most pressing questions in magnetospheric science, this comprehensive data set would provide a systemwide view of events in the magnetosphere to observe how one region affects another, helping to untangle how space weather phenomena circulate around our planet. STORM is led by David Sibeck at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

HelioSwarm: The Nature of Turbulence in Space Plasmas

HelioSwarm would observe the solar wind over a wide range of scales in order to determine the fundamental space physics processes that lead energy from large-scale motion to cascade down to finer scales of particle movement within the plasma that fills space, a process that leads to the heating of such plasma. Using a swarm of nine SmallSat spacecraft, HelioSwarm would gather multi-point measurements and be able to reveal the three-dimensional mechanisms that control the physical processes crucial to understanding our neighborhood in space. HelioSwarm is led by Harlan Spence at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Multi-slit Solar Explorer (MUSE)

MUSE would provide high-cadence observations of the mechanisms driving an array of processes and events in the Sun's atmosphere – the corona – including what drives solar eruptions such as solar flares, as well as what heats the corona to temperatures far above that of the solar surface. MUSE would use breakthrough imaging spectroscopy techniques to observe radial motion and heating at ten times the current resolution – and 100 times faster – a key capability when trying to study the phenomena driving heating and eruption processes, which occur on time scales shorter than previous spectrographs could observe. Such data would enable advanced numerical solar modeling and help unpack long-standing questions about coronal heating and the foundation of space weather events that can send giant bursts of solar particles and energy toward Earth. MUSE is led by Bart De Pontieu at Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto, California.

Auroral Reconstruction CubeSwarm (ARCS)

ARCS would explore the processes that contribute to aurora at size scales that have been rarely studied: at the intermediate scale between the smaller, local phenomena leading directly to the visible aurora and the larger, global dynamics of the space weather system coursing through the ionosphere and thermosphere. Adding crucial information to understanding the physics at the border between our atmosphere and space, these observations would provide insight into the entire magnetospheric system surrounding Earth. The mission would use an innovative, distributed set of sensors by deploying 32 CubeSats and 32 ground-based observatories. The combination of instruments and spatial distribution would provide a comprehensive picture of the drivers and response of the auroral system to and from the magnetosphere. ARCS is led by Kristina Lynch at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Solaris: Revealing the Mysteries of the Sun’s Poles

Solaris would address fundamental questions of solar and stellar physics that can only be answered with a view of the Sun's poles. Solaris would observe three solar rotations over each solar pole to obtain observations of light, magnetic fields, and movement in the Sun's surface, the photosphere. Space researchers have never collected imagery of the Sun's poles, though the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter will provide oblique angle views for the first time in 2025. Better knowledge of the physical processes visible from the pole is necessary to understand the global dynamics of the entire Sun, including how magnetic fields evolve and move throughout the star, leading to periods of great solar activity and eruptions approximately every 11 years. Solaris is led by Donald Hassler at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
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John Done
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Re: NASA Selects Proposals for New Space Environment Missions

Post by John Done » Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:23 am

The influence of the Sun on astronauts really is quite important nowadays because this field of activity is rapidly developing. The charged particles that go through the magnetosphere are very dangerous, especially when astronauts go into outer space. In order to minimize harm, it is required to monitor the Sun and predict a solar flare and take necessary measures. Hope these five proposals for concept studies will help in future research.