times more intense than August 1972) or uses the spectral character of one event (the very hard 1956 event) and the flux history of another (the large and relatively rapid August 1972 event). A detailed evaluation of historical records may place upper limits on how intense a “superstorm” could be, or at least on what the largest such storm could have been within the past few hundred years.


In summary, the Workshop on Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration revealed the numerous ways in which solar and space physics research can contribute to all phases and aspects of the VSE. These contributions are illustrated schematically in Figure 4.1. The VSE will engage teams responsible for planning missions (Planners); for building instruments, habitats, and spacecraft (Builders); for launching vehicles (Launchers); for flying the missions (Explorers); for providing support for mission operations (Operators); and for analyzing a wealth of data and information (Interpreters). Each of these teams and activities will rely on a foundation of knowledge and tools that can be found in space environment understanding and models contributed by solar and space physics research. The figure also illustrates that some solar and space physics expertise will provide critical knowledge to specific mission activities. For example, space weather forecasting will be most important for activities carried out by explorers and operators, whereas space climatology will be more important for planners and builders. In conclusion, solar and space physics provides a rich foundation of space environment information and a community that can be called on to contribute importantly to the success of the Vision for Space Exploration.

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