10.5.5.4 Continuity of Real-Time Solar Wind Data from L1
SHP Imperative: Maintaining the continuity of real-time solar wind data from L1 is essential for the preservation and improvement of current space weather forecasting capabilities.
Justification: Observations of the solar wind and the Sun from 1 million miles upstream from Earth (orbiting the L1 Lagrangian point) have proved to be extremely valuable. The ACE mission has returned solar wind observations in real time since 1998, and the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center uses them to drive 5 of its 11 space weather watches and warnings with a lead time of up to 60 minutes. The real-time data are also downloaded about 1 million times a month by about 25,000 unique customers, including deep-sea drilling, surveying, mining, and airline companies. NOAA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force are refurbishing the DSCOVR spacecraft to provide operational real-time data to partially replace the data supplied by the aging ACE spacecraft. IMAP will be able to replace and expand on the suite of real-time space weather data provided by ACE and DSCOVR.
10.5.5.5 Preserving Key Solar-Heliospheric Data Sets
SHP Imperative: Agencies that engage in solar-heliospheric research or use solar and heliospheric data products (such as NASA, NOAA, NSF, and DOD) are encouraged to initiate an internal or external study that would identify key long-term data records and recommend approaches to ensure that they are continued and archived.43
Justification: A number of long-term solar and heliospheric data sets are essential for tracking the evolution of the solar-heliosphere system on timescales ranging from minutes to millennia. Examples include neutron-monitor records of cosmic-ray variations, TSI measurements, and solar wind properties upstream of Earth. Some of the data sets are often in danger of being discontinued because of lack of funding or changes in agency priorities.
10.5.5.6 Laboratory Plasma Physics
SHP Imperative: NASA and NSF are encouraged to continue supporting laboratory plasma-physics research at current or higher levels because it complements space- and ground-based measurements in efforts to understand basic heliophysical processes.44
Justification: Facilities that approximate solar and space plasma environments in the laboratory have long been part of the scientific investigation of space. Next-generation experiments have been emerging to provide experimental capabilities to study detailed processes directly relevant to space and solar plasmas. Some fundamental plasma processes are difficult, if not impossible, to measure and confirm with spacecraft but are potentially within reach through laboratory experiments. Examples include studies of magnetic reconnection and associated particle acceleration, solar coronal loops, and large-scale dynamo experiments at the Madison Dynamo Experiment facility. Moderate funding for laboratory heliophysics in
43 J.M. Ryan et al., Ground-Based Measurements of Galactic and Solar Cosmic Rays, white paper submitted to the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics), Paper 235; P. Pilewskie, The Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor: Response to the NAS Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics, white paper submitted to the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics), Paper 221; F. Hill et al., The Need for Synoptic Solar Observations from the Ground, white paper submitted to the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics), Paper 108.
44 B. Brown et al., An Experimental Plasma Dynamo Program for Investigations of Fundamental Processes in Heliophysics, white paper submitted to the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics), Paper 18; H. Ji et al., Next Generation Experiments for Laboratory Investigations of Magnetic Reconnection Relevant to Heliophysics, white paper submitted to the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics), Paper 120.