Understanding the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s interior, the generation of solar magnetic fields, the origin of the solar cycle, the causes of solar activity, and the structure and dynamics of the corona. Why does solar activity vary in a regular 11-year cycle? Why is the solar corona several thousand times hotter than its underlying visible surface, and how is the supersonic solar wind produced?
Understanding heliospheric structure, the distribution of magnetic fields and matter throughout the solar system, and the interaction of the solar atmosphere with the local interstellar medium. What is the nature of the interstellar medium, and how does the heliosphere interact with it? How do energetic solar events propagate through the heliosphere?
Understanding the space environments of Earth and other solar system bodies and their dynamical response to external and internal influences. How does Earth’s global space environment respond to solar variations? What are the roles of planetary ionospheres, planetary rotation, and internal
National Research Council, New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2002.
National Research Council, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2002.