NASA has chosen missions to study space weather

The space agency held a competition and selected three research missions that could help us better understand the space weather created by the Sun.

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Phenomena on the surface and inside the Sun are reflected on the planets surrounding it. For example, flashes on our star or a sharp increase in its activity gives rise to changes in the atmosphere and climate.

Therefore, it is important to study these phenomena in order to build more accurate long-term forecasts and to determine the effect of solar radiation on astronauts.

Each of the NASA heliophysics missions will receive $ 400,000 for a nine-month study of the concept. At the end of this period, NASA will select one proposal for further launch. Each potential mission has a separate launch opportunity and an individual time frame.

The proposals, according to agency representatives, were selected based on potential scientific value and feasibility. The total cost of the mission, which will ultimately be selected, will be $ 55 million and will be funded by the NASA heliophysics research program.

The first mission is called EUVST. She will seek to find out how the interaction of solar material – hot plasma – and magnetic fields leads to increased stellar activity and solar flares with coronal mass ejections.

The mission will be launched along with the program of the Japan Aerospace Research Agency Solar-C, scheduled for 2025. EUVST will observe the interaction of the plasma and magnetic fields of the Sun in a wide range of parameters.

The second mission – AETHER – will explore the ionosphere system – the thermosphere and its response to geomagnetic storms. On board the ISS, it will be able to observe the ionosphere – the uppermost region of our atmosphere. Understanding how a neutral atmosphere affects ions and vice versa is the key to a better understanding of space weather, which affects spacecraft and astronauts.

Finally, the third mission, EZIE, will investigate the structure of electron fluxes that are observed near the earth’s poles and cause auroras, – electrojets. The mission seeks to understand what causes these flows and how they evolve over time. Knowing how electric jets form and grow will ultimately help predict the occurrence of storms that cause auroras.


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