The Sun does not only provide us with light and heat on Earth. It also sends streams of energy and particles that zip through the solar system and create complex phenomena of space weather. Our planet’s magnetosphere protects us from the sun’s radiation at its worst, but outside this bubble, it can cause problems for both people and machines.
Now, NASA has announced five new concept proposals to examine space weather events and better understand how the Sun affects the space environment.
“We are constantly looking for missions that use state-of-the-art technology and novel approaches,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
“Each of these proposals provides an opportunity to observe something that we have never seen before or to provide unprecedented insight into key areas of research, all of it to advance the exploration of the universe in which We live. “
The five proposals include STORM (Solar-Terrestrial Observer for the Response of the Magnetosphere), a set of observation devices to obtain a global view of solar winds interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field; Heliosperm, which will observe solar winds at both small and large scales; MUSE (Multi-Slit Solar Explorer) to observe the sun’s corona and solar flares; ARCS (oronal reconstruction cubeworms) that will observe intermediate and large-scale aurora events; And Solaris, which will look at the Sun’s poles to see how its magnetic fields develop.
Heliophysics Division Director Nikki Fox said, “Whether it’s looking at the physics of our star, studying the aurora, or how the magnetic field moves through space, the heliophysics community wants to explore the space system around us is.” The statement from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate states.
“We carefully undertake missions to provide fully placed sensors throughout the solar system, providing an important perspective for understanding each space that human technology and humans are traveling rapidly.”
NASA will now fund all five of these proposals to develop its concepts over the next nine months, after which two proposals will be chosen for launch.