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Project Title:

A Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) - Panel on Solar Wind-Magnetosphere Interactions
PIN: DEPS-SSB-10-07        

Major Unit:

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Sub Unit: Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board DEPS
Space Studies Board DEPS

RSO: Charo, Art

Subject/Focus Area: Space and Aeronautics

Project Scope
The Space Studies Board shall establish a Heliophysics Survey Committee to develop a comprehensive science and mission strategy for heliophysics research for a 10-year period beginning in approximately 2013.  The survey committee, informed by up to 5 study panels that will also be established by the Board, will broadly canvas the field of solar and space physics and:

Provide an overview of the science and a broad survey of the current state of knowledge in the field, including a discussion of the relationship between space- and ground-based science research and its connection to other scientific areas;
Identify the most compelling science challenges that have arisen from recent advances and accomplishments;
Identify—having considered scientific value, urgency, cost category and risk, and technical readiness—the highest priority scientific targets for the interval 2013-2022, recommending science objectives and measurement requirements for each target rather than specific mission or project design/implementation concepts; and
Develop an integrated research strategy that will present means to address these targets.

This panel will address research questions in the solar wind and magnetosphere interaction. The panel will report its findings to the Decadal Survey steering committee.


This “decadal survey” follows the NRC's previous survey in solar and space physics, The Sun to the Earth--and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, which was completed in 2002 and published in final form in 2003.  The scope of the study will include:

The structure of the Sun and the properties of its outer layers in their static and active states;
The characteristics and physics of the interplanetary medium from the surface of the Sun to interstellar space beyond the boundary of the heliosphere; and
The consequences of solar variability on the atmospheres and surfaces of other bodies in solar system, and the physics associated with the magnetospheres, ionospheres, thermospheres, mesospheres, and upper atmospheres of the Earth and other solar system bodies. 

In order to ensure consistency with other advice developed by the NRC for NASA, the following additional scope guidance is provided:

With the exception of interactions with the atmospheres and magnetospheres of solar system bodies, which are within scope, planetary phenomena are out of scope (these other topics are being addressed by an ongoing decadal survey in planetary science);
Basic or supporting ground-based laboratory and theoretical research in solar and space physics are within scope, noting that the findings and recommendations in the present survey should be harmonized with those developed and reported by the ongoing astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey; and
Consistent with the current astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, recommendations related to ground-based implementations (e.g., ground-based solar observatories) will be directed to the NSF.

Without undertaking a detailed analysis of operational space weather user or provider requirements, the survey committee will describe the value of these services to society and examine the role of NASA and NSF research in underpinning and improving these services. 

In addition to an integrated review of the current state of scientific knowledge and recommendations for future basic research directions to advance our understanding, the survey will provide implementation recommendations separately for NASA and NSF.

For each science target, the committee will establish criteria on which its recommendations depend and identify developments of sufficient significance that they would warrant an NRC reexamination of the committee’s recommendations.  The Committee will also make recommendations to the agencies on how to rebalance programs within budgetary scenarios upon failure of one or more of the criteria.

This project is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation

The start date for the project is 03/10/2010

The expected release of a pre-publication version of the final report from this project has been delayed and is now anticipated in early-mid July 2012.

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 11/17/2010
 Meeting 2 - 01/18/2011
 Meeting 3 - 02/23/2011
 Meeting 4 - 02/28/2011
 Meeting 5 - 03/09/2011
 Meeting 6 - 03/14/2011
 Meeting 7 - 03/23/2011
 Meeting 8 - 03/28/2011
 Meeting 9 - 04/01/2011
 Meeting 10 - 04/06/2011
 Meeting 11 - 05/11/2011
 Meeting 12 - 05/23/2011
 Meeting 13 - 06/06/2011
 Meeting 14 - 06/20/2011
 Meeting 15 - 07/13/2011
 Meeting 16 - 07/27/2011
 Meeting 17 - 08/10/2011
 Meeting 18 - 08/24/2011
 Meeting 19 - 08/29/2011
 Meeting 20 - 09/07/2011


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office