TABLE 4.2 Summary of Top-Level Decadal Survey Applications Recommendations


Priority Recommendation NASA NSF Other


1.0 Recharter the National Space Weather Program X X X
2.0 Work in a multiagency partnership to achieve continuity of solar and solar wind observations X X X
2.1    Continue solar wind observations from L1 (DSCOVR, IMAP) X   X
2.2    Continue space-based coronagraph and solar magnetic field measurements X   X
2.3    Evaluate new observations, platforms, and locations X X X
2.4    Establish a space weather research program at NOAA to effectively transition research to operations     X
2.5    Develop and maintain distinct funding lines for basic space physics research and for space weather specification and forecasting X X X



Baseline Priority for NASA and NSF: Complete the Current Program

The survey committee’s recommended program for NSF and NASA assumes continued support in the near term for the key existing program elements that constitute the Heliophysics Systems Observatory (HSO) and successful implementation of programs in advanced stages of development.

NASA’s existing heliophysics flight missions and NSF’s ground-based facilities form a network of observing platforms that operate simultaneously to investigate the solar system. This array can be thought of as a single observatory—the Heliophysics Systems Observatory (HSO) (see Figure 1.2). The evolving HSO lies at the heart of the field of solar and space physics and provides a rich source of observations that can be used to address increasingly interdisciplinary and long-term scientific questions. Missions now under development will expand the HSO and drive scientific discovery. For NASA, these missions include the following:

•   Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP; Living With a Star (LWS); 2012 launch1) and the related Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL; first launch 2012). These missions will determine the mechanisms that control the energy, intensity, spatial distribution, and time variability of the radiation belts.

•   The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS; Explorer program; 2013 launch). IRIS will deliver pioneering observations of chromospheric dynamics to help reveal their role in the origin of the fluxes of heat and mass into the corona and wind.

•   The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS; Solar-Terrestrial Probes (STP) program; 2014 launch). MMS will address the physics of magnetic reconnection at the previously inaccessible tiny scale where reconnection is triggered.

Missions that are less fully developed but that are part of the assumed baseline program2 include:


1 Following its launch on August 30, 2012, RBSP was renamed the Van Allen Probes.

2 In accordance with its charge, the committee did not reprioritize any NASA mission that was in formulation or advanced development. In June 2010, the committee’s charge was modified by NASA to include a request for it to present decision rules to guide the future development of the SPP mission.

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