Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration

Committee on the Assessment of the Role of Solar and Space Physics in NASA’s Space Exploration Initiative

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration Committee on the Assessment of the Role of Solar and Space Physics in NASA’s Space Exploration Initiative Space Studies Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by Contract NASW 01001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors. Cover: The heliospheric systemthe Sun, the solar wind and space environment of Earth (lower right), the Moon (bottom), and Mars (upper right). This sketch is not to scale; for example, in reality the Sun is 100 Earth-diameters across and the Sun-Earth distance is 108 solar-diameters; Mars is half the size of Earth and 1.5 times farther from the Sun. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09325-2 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-54607-9 (PDF) Copies of this report are available free of charge from Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration OTHER REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD “Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope” (2004) Exploration of the Outer Heliosphere and the Local Interstellar Medium: A Workshop Report (2004) Issues and Opportunities Regarding the U.S. Space Program: A Summary Report of a Workshop on National Space Policy (2004) Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos (2004) “Review of Science Requirements for the Terrestrial Planet Finder” (2004) Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions (2004) Utilization of Operational Environmental Satellite Data: Ensuring Readiness for 2010 and Beyond (2004) “Assessment of NASA’s Draft 2003 Earth Science Enterprise Strategy” (2003) “Assessment of NASA’s Draft 2003 Space Science Enterprise Strategy” (2003) Satellite Observations of the Earth’s Environment: Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations (2003) The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: Panel Reports (2003) Assessment of Directions in Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (2002) Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Science Mission Data (2002) Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences (2002) Life in the Universe: An Examination of U.S. and International Programs in Astrobiology (2002) New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy (2002) Review of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise Applications Program Plan (2002) “Review of the Redesigned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM)” (2002) Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface (2002) The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics (2002) Toward New Partnerships in Remote Sensing: Government, the Private Sector, and Earth Science Research (2002) Using Remote Sensing in State and Local Government: Information for Management and Decision Making (2002) Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities (2001) The Mission of Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (2001) The Quarantine and Certification of Martian Samples (2001) Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station (2001) “Scientific Assessment of the Descoped Mission Concept for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST)” (2001) Signs of Life: A Report Based on the April 2000 Workshop on Life Detection Techniques (2001) Transforming Remote Sensing Data into Information and Applications (2001) U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program (2001) Limited copies of these reports are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) 334-3477 ssb@nas.edu www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html     NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release.

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration COMMITTEE ON THE ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF SOLAR AND SPACE PHYSICS IN NASA’S SPACE EXPLORATION INITIATIVE FRAN BAGENAL, University of Colorado, Chair CLAUDIA J. ALEXANDER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory JAMES L. BURCH, Southwest Research Institute ANTHONY CHAN, Rice University JAMES F. DRAKE, University of Maryland JOHN C. FOSTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology STEPHEN A. FUSELIER, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center SARAH GIBSON, National Center for Atmospheric Research RODERICK A. HEELIS, University of Texas at Dallas CRAIG KLETZING, University of Iowa LOUIS J. LANZEROTTI, New Jersey Institute of Technology GANG LU, National Center for Atmospheric Research BARRY H. MAUK, Johns Hopkins University TERRANCE G. ONSAGER, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration EUGENE N. PARKER, University of Chicago, Professor Emeritus ARTHUR CHARO, Study Director THERESA M. FISHER, Senior Program Assistant CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Assistant Editor

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration SPACE STUDIES BOARD LENNARD A. FISK, University of Michigan, Chair GEORGE A. PAULIKAS, The Aerospace Corporation (retired), Vice Chair DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado ANA P. BARROS, Duke University RETA F. BEEBE, New Mexico State University ROGER D. BLANDFORD, Stanford University RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University of Colorado JUDITH A. CURRY, Georgia Institute of Technology JACK D. FARMER, Arizona State University JACQUELINE N. HEWITT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DONALD INGBER, Harvard Medical Center RALPH H. JACOBSON, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (retired) TAMARA E. JERNIGAN, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California, Los Angeles CALVIN W. LOWE, Bowie State University HARRY Y. McSWEEN, JR., University of Tennessee BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire NORMAN NEUREITER, Texas Instruments (retired) SUZANNE OPARIL, University of Alabama, Birmingham RONALD F. PROBSTEIN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DENNIS W. READEY, Colorado School of Mines ANNA-LOUISE REYSENBACH, Portland State University ROALD S. SAGDEEV, University of Maryland CAROLUS J. SCHRIJVER, Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory HARVEY D. TANANBAUM, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory J. CRAIG WHEELER, University of Texas, Austin A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired) JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Director

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration Foreword As this report is being issued the space science program of NASA is in transition. There is now a new agency goal to use humans and robots in synergy to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond. This new priority for NASA presents both exciting possibilities and serious challenges to the space science program. The transition in space science also places a task on the Space Studies Board. We have issued a series of decadal strategies for the various science disciplines of NASA that lay out priorities for science and recommended missions for the ensuing decade. Each of these studies, however, was completed before the announcement of NASA’s new exploration vision, The Vision for Space Exploration (February 2004). There is value, then, in asking whether the priorities should in any way be changed to realize new opportunities or to offer additional support for the exploration goals. We should be cautious about altering decadal strategies, since their power stems from the fact that they are a well-honed and carefully reasoned consensus of the broad scientific community. Nonetheless, it is legitimate to ask whether the circumstances under which they were developed and the impact they are having have changed. This report reviews the decadal strategy for solar and space physics, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, and evaluates it in the context of the exploration initiative. The most fundamental conclusion is that the basic priorities of the decadal strategy are still valid for the simple reason that the fundamental principles used in constructing the strategy were the need for a balanced program of basic and applied research that endeavors to recognize the solar-planetary environment for the complex system that it is. We do not know enough today to perform the predictive task required of us by the exploration initiative, and only by pursuing fundamental knowledge and employing a system-level approach can we hope to succeed. The magnitude of the task before us—predicting the space environment through which we will fly—should not be underestimated. The report points out that within the expected budget envelope for this discipline it will not be possible to execute all of the missions judged to be essential to develop this predictive capability in a reasonable time frame. Missions such as Solar Probe, intended to explore the inner solar corona, which is the source of our space environment, or Sentinels, which are intended to study the coupling of the corona to the broader space environment, will be difficult to execute in a manner that supports the exploration initiative, within a program that considers all of the scientific issues this discipline must address. The report notes that other missions, which are expected to occur over the next decade, will still risk losing some of their power if they cannot be conducted simultaneously so as to achieve important scientific synergies. These issues deserve careful attention as NASA develops its plans for exploration. Lennard A. Fisk, Chair Space Studies Board

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration Preface In 2003, the National Research Council (NRC) published the first decadal strategy for solar and space physics: The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics.1 That report included a recommended suite of NASA missions that were ordered by priority, presented in an appropriate sequence, and selected to fit within the expected resource profile for the next decade. In early 2004, NASA adopted major new goals for human and robotic exploration of the solar system, exploration that will depend, in part, on developing the capability to predict the space environment experienced by exploring spacecraft. The purpose of this report is to consider solar and space physics priorities in light of the exploration vision (see Appendix A for the statement of task). NASA’s solar and space physics program is conducted by the Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Division of the Office of Space Science.2 At the time of the decadal survey, the SEC program included one ongoing mission line called the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) and a longstanding series of smaller Explorer missions, plus a new series of missions that were planned to create a second mission line called the Living With a Star (LWS) program (for specific mission descriptions see Appendix B). Following introduction of the agency’s new space exploration goals in early 2004, NASA planned to move forward with the LWS initiative, which focuses on aspects of space weather. However, elements of the STP and Explorer programs were subject to deferral in view of their being assigned a lower priority in the context of preparations for human missions to the Moon and Mars. The emphasis in the LWS program on applied science was seen as necessary to supply information on the environment for space travel between Earth and the Moon and Mars and on how that environment is controlled by solar activity. The STP and Explorer missions address basic scientific questions that were not viewed by NASA as being as immediately relevant to human exploration. Nevertheless, NASA has recognized that a strong basic research program is essential to the existence and growth of any applied science. The NRC established the Committee on the Assessment of the Role of Solar and Space Physics in NASA’s Space Exploration Initiative to provide advice on how and where the basic research aspects of the SEC program are needed to ensure that the applications requirements of the NASA exploration program are solidly grounded. In brief, the committee was asked to do the following: 1   National Research Council, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003. 2   Subsequent to the completion of the committee’s report NASA implemented a reorganization that placed the Sun-Earth Connection program in a new headquarters program office—the Science Mission Directorate.

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration Analyze the missions and programs that were recommended in the NRC’s first decadal strategy for solar and space physics (The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond) and assess their relevance to the space exploration initiative and Recommend the most effective strategy for accomplishing the recommendations of the decadal strategy within realistic resource projections and time scales. In June 2004 the President’s Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy issued its report, A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover,3 in which the commission described a broad role for science in the context of exploration (see Appendix C for a notional agenda for science research). The report treated science as being both an intrinsic element of exploration and an enabling element, and the committee responsible for this current study also shared that view. Consequently, the committee chose to interpret its charge in the broadest sense and to examine both the fundamental roles of solar and space physics as aspects of scientific exploration and the roles of the research in support of enabling future exploration of the solar system. The committee included some members of the SSB Committee on Solar and Space Physics and several additional members of the SEC community, including experts who participated in the NRC decadal survey (committee member and staff biographies are presented in Appendix D). The ad hoc committee met in June 2004 at Woods Hole, Massachusetts; the committee also had extensive discussions via e-mail and teleconference. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John T. Gosling, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Michael Hesse, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Margaret G. Kivelson, University of California, Los Angeles, Robert P. Lin, University of California, Berkeley, Glenn M. Mason, University of Maryland, Jan Sojka, Utah State University, Robert J. Strangeway, University of California, Los Angeles, and Ellen Gould Zweibel, University of Wisconsin. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by John W. Leibacher, National Solar Observatory. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. 3   A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover: Report of the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, ISBN 0-16-073075-9, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 2004.

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Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   5 2   ENABLING EXPLORATION OF THE SUN-HELIOSPHERE-PLANETARY SYSTEM   12      Space Weather Hazards,   13      Solar System Space Physics,   14      Solar Drivers,   15      Heliospheric Interactions,   15      Earth Consequences,   16      Planetary Comparisons,   17      Universal Processes,   18      Prediction and Mitigation,   18      Understanding the Integrated Heliospheric System,   18      The NASA Sun-Earth Connection Program,   19      The Explorer Program,   20      Mission Operations and Data Analysis,   20      Suborbital Program,   21      Supporting Research and Technology Programs,   22      Relevance of Specific SEC Missions to NASA’s Space Exploration Initiative,   23 3   IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY AND RECOMMENDATIONS   25     APPENDIXES         A   Statement of Task,   33     B   Sun-Earth Connection Missions and Exploration,   35     C   A Notional Science Research Agenda,   52     D   Biographies of Committee Members and Staff,   54     E   Acronyms,   58

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