NASA Selects Proposals for New Space Environment Missions
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.
Each of these Medium-Class Explorer proposals will receive $1.25 million to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. Following the study period, NASA will choose up to two proposals to go forward to launch. Each potential mission has a separate launch opportunity and timeframe.
NASA’s heliophysics program explores the giant, interconnected system of energy, particles, and magnetic fields that fills interplanetary space, a system that constantly changes based on outflow from the Sun and its interaction with the space and atmosphere around Earth.
Each of these new proposals seeks to add a new puzzle piece to understanding that larger system, some by looking at the Sun, some by making observations closer to home.
The proposals were selected based on potential science value and feasibility of development plans. The cost for the investigation ultimately chosen for flight will be capped at $250 million and is funded by NASA’s Heliophysics Explorers’ program.
The proposals selected for concept studies are:
Solar-Terrestrial Observer for the Response of the Magnetosphere (STORM)
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 is led by Harlan Spence at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
Multi-slit Solar Explorer (MUSE)
MUSE is led by Bart De Pontieu at Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto, California.
Auroral Reconstruction CubeSwarm (ARCS)
ARCS is led by Kristina Lynch at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Solaris: Revealing the Mysteries of the Sun’s Poles
Solaris is led by Donald Hassler at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
For information about NASA and space science, visit https://www.nasa.gov/sunearth.