NASA Selects Mission Proposals to Advance Space Weather Observations

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendScientists Discover Possible Interstellar Visitor As NASA looks to send the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024, the agency aims to increase its understanding of the dynamic space weather system outside Earth. NASA recently selected three proposals for concept studies of missions that could help predict space weather and how it may impact astronauts and spacecraft on future trips.The proposals, which are named Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope (EUVST) Epsilon Mission, Aeronomy at Earth: Tools for Heliophysics Exploration and Research (AETHER), and Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE), were selected based on potential science value and ease of development plans, NASA said in a press statement.Each of the Heliophysics Mission of Opportunity proposals will receive $400,000 to conduct a nine-month mission concept study focused on space weather. Following the study period, NASA will choose one proposal that will be cleared to launch. The total cost of the mission selected by NASA will be capped at $55 million and will be funded by NASA’s Heliophysics Explorers’ program.“NASA’s research to understand the space we travel through relies on exploring key details about a vast system from the Sun, to Earth, to the edges of the solar system,” said Peg Luce, deputy director for heliophysics in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Each of these proposals could add a significant tool from a unique vantage point to help us understand that system.”Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope (EUVST) Epsilon MissionEUVST aims to analyze how solar material drives coronal mass ejections in space. (Photo Credit: NASA Goddard)Coronal mass ejections and solar flares could occur in space and the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope (EUVST) Epsilon Mission aims to find out how hot plasma and magnetic fields drive solar eruptions and activity. The mission would launch with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Solar-C mission, which is planned for 2025.On its journey, EUVST would observe how magnetic fields and plasma interact in the lower solar atmosphere. These observations could help NASA learn more about how these two systems take part in the sun’s constantly-changing atmosphere.Aeronomy at Earth: Tools for Heliophysics Exploration and Research (AETHER)AETHER will study how the neutral, terrestrial-weather-driven thermosphere interacts with the ionosphere’s charged particles. (Photo Credit: NASA / JSC)Aeronomy at Earth: Tools for Heliophysics Exploration and Research (AETHER) would analyze the ionosphere-thermosphere system and how it responds to geomagnetic storms. The mission would give information on how the neutral, terrestrial-weather-driven thermosphere interacts with charged particles from the ionosphere, the area of Earth’s atmosphere that overlaps with lower regions of space.AETHER would be launched no later than 2024 and gather observations of the ionosphere from a position aboard the International Space Station (ISS). These ionosphere observations would be complemented by ground observations of electrons in the same region. Studying how the neutral atmosphere and ions affect each other is important for understanding space weather that surrounds Earth and how it impacts astronauts and spacecraft flying through it.Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE)EZIE will focus on the auroral electrojet, an electric current that circles through the atmosphere roughly 60 to 90 miles above our planet. (Photo Credit: NASA)Electrojets, which are part of a larger space weather system that may lead to oscillations in Earth’s magnetic fields, are important for the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE). EZIE, which will launch with NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative no later than 2024, will focus on the auroral electrojet, an electric current that circles through the atmosphere around 60 to 90 miles above our planet near the poles.With the help of three SmallSats to measure magnetic fields, EZIE would monitor the structure of electrojets and analyze what causes them. Electrojets could contribute to geomagnetic storms that may interfere with spacecraft. Knowing how electrojets develop and grow could help NASA better predict these types of storms in coming years.More on Geek.com:NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Passes By Sun for Third TimeNASA Attaches Helicopter to Mars 2020 RoverNASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Gets Assembled in California Stay on targetlast_img

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