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Solar-Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP). The STEP program seeks to
better understand the coupling of energy and mass throughout the
various parts of the solar-terrestrial system. A related ICSU
program is Stratospheric Processes and their Relation to Climate
(SPARC), an adopted program of the World Climate Research Program
(WCRP). Its emphasis is on understanding the role of the
stratosphere in the climate system. Both of these international
programs include components involving solar influences on global
The International Solar Terrestrial Physics Program (ISTP) is a
cooperative effort involving the U.S., Japan, and Europe. The
program consists of several spacecraft to be launched in the 1990s
by NASA, ISAS, and ESA. The overall scientific objectives of ISTP
are to develop a comprehensive, global understanding of the
generation and flow of energy from the Sun through the
interplanetary medium and into the Earth's space environment, and
to define the cause and effect relationships between the physical
processes that link different regions of this dynamic environment.
The ISTP will provide major contributions to the understanding of
the energy flow between the Sun and the Earth's magnetosphere, but
its principal objectives do not, at present, include study of
energy flow into the lower atmosphere.