By Karen C. Fox, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
January 21, 2021

NASA Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe IMAP

NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Velocity Probe, or IMAP, will help us better understand the nature of interplanetary space, which is dominated by a continuous circulation of particles from the Sun called the solar wind. On Dec. 30, 2020, Poland signed an arrangement with NASA to construct the GLOWS instrument for IMAP. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Laboratory

NASA and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland have accepted cooperate on a NASA heliophysics mission, the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP). The agreement, signed on December 30, 2020, will allow the Space Research study Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CBK PAN) to develop and build among IMAP’s 10 instruments– the Global Solar Wind Structure (RADIANCE) instrument– along with offer ground assistance and personnel essential to support the instrument and the IMAP science team.

Set up to launch no earlier than February 2025, IMAP will observe and map the Sun’s heliosphere– the volume of area filled with particles streaming out from the Sun, referred to as the solar wind– and study how it engages with the regional stellar neighborhood beyond. The border zone at the edge of the heliosphere deals protection from the harsher radiation of interstellar space; it might have played a role in producing a habitable planetary system and is vital in NASA’s plans for safe human expedition of the Moon and Mars

GLOWS will assist chart Earth’s huge area by observing light bouncing off hydrogen within interplanetary area. Spotting this glow exposes information about variations in the hydrogen-rich solar wind putting off of the Sun and assists identify hydrogen that has actually shown up from interstellar area.

This is the first time Poland will develop a whole instrument for NASA, continuing a long previous history of working together.

” This arrangement builds on a history of cooperation with Poland that dates back to 1962,” stated NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “We value Poland’s assistance for IMAP, and together we’ll work to check out and understand our space environment better than ever previously.”

The contract broadens NASA’s cooperation with Poland from its two continuous Earth science activities to heliophysics, the study of the Sun and how it drives a vibrant space environment that can impact astronauts and technology in area. In addition to studying the fundamental nature of our solar system, IMAP will enable and mature brand-new ways of forecasting area weather by streaming real-time observations of Earth’s area environment to operators on the ground.

” The Space Research Study Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences has been conducting research study into the heliosphere for many years now,” said Jerzy Duszyński, the president of the Polish Academy of Science. “The invite it has actually received to cooperate with NASA validates the greatest standard of space research at the Polish Academy of Sciences.”

” I have actually worked carefully for almost two decades with our associates in Poland,” stated David J. McComas, the principal private investigator for IMAP and a professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. “I am pleased that they will be building this instrument as a part of the IMAP objective.

McComas leads the IMAP mission and a worldwide team of 24 partner institutions. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will construct the IMAP spacecraft and operate the objective for NASA. IMAP is the 5th objective in NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Program portfolio. The Heliophysics Program Workplace at NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the STP Program for the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

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