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Last Post 3/21/2014 10:08 AM by  Kelly Larson
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3/16/2014 8:48 PM
    becky f (cc) what does thefuture hold for solar science, and new missions coming up?
    Tags: MMS, Magnetospheric Multiscale, Upcoming Missions

    Hazel Bain

    New Member

    New Member

    3/17/2014 9:24 AM
    One exciting new mission will be NASA's Solar Probe Plus. Which is a spacecraft that will fly very close to the Sun. The distance from the Earth to the Sun is nearly 93 million miles but Solar Probe Plus will get as close as 3 million miles. It will be passing through the Sun's outer corona to study the solar wind, and to investigate how particles are accelerated and why the corona is so hot. How particles like electrons and protons are accelerated at the Sun is important to use here on Earth because these really energetic particles travel towards Earth and impact our atmosphere. It is these particles that cause the aurora here on Earth.

    Kris Sigsbee

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    3/17/2014 10:59 AM

    Hi Becky!

    NASA is getting ready to launch the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission to study magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetosphere sometime in late 2014. Magnetic reconnection is an important part of the interaction between Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind. MMS will have four satellites flying in formation. The Electron Drift Instrument (EDI) for MMS was partially built by the machine shop here at the University of Iowa. I am running computer simulations of the electron detector part of the EDI to help optimize its performance. We are having a big meeting here next week for everyone involved in MMS to talk about getting the satellites ready to launch. You can read more about MMS here:

    This page will let you see where the various instruments will be on the spacecraft, including EDI:

    And here are some pictures of the FIELDS investigation, including EDI


    KD Leka

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    3/17/2014 8:52 PM

    Hi Becky;

    There's so much to do. So many neat questions, fundamental research, just so much we do not yet understand. And there are a lot of cool projects that scientists can be involved with (I'm personally involved with the Solar Dynamics Observatory,, and Hinode

    The fact is, however, that a lot of research in astronomy, physics, solar science, is funded by the government through NASA, the National Science Foundation, etc. And the funding is not very plentiful right now, so sometimes it is difficult to work on the questions that most excite me or that I think are really interesting and important. We, and maybe someday you, will keep doing research and discovering new things. But sometimes I'll admit, it's frustrating. When I talk with (or blog for) students and see enthusiasm and interest-- I get inspired again! :-)

    Kelly Larson

    New Member

    New Member

    3/21/2014 10:08 AM


    Thank you for your questions. If you are interested in PV, check out my post on jobs in solar. It's a booming industry with a future! We could really use bright gals like you!



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