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The Solar Probe Plus Mission: Humanity's First Visit to Our StarSolar Probe Plus (SPP) will be the first spacecraft to fly into the low solar corona. SPPs main science goal is to determine the structure and dynamics of the Suns coronal magnetic field, understand how the solar corona and wind are heated and accelerated, and determine what processes accelerate energetic particles. Understanding these fundamental phenomena has been a top-priority science goal for over five decades, dating back to the 1958 Simpson Committee Report. The scale and concept of such a mission has been revised at intervals since that time, yet the core has always been a close encounter with the Sun. The mission design and the technology and engineering developments enable SPP to meet its science objectives to: (1) Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind; (2) Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind; and (3) Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles. The SPP mission was confirmed in March 2014 and is under development as a part of NASAs Living with a Star (LWS) Program. SPP is scheduled for launch in mid-2018, and will perform 24 orbits over a 7-year nominal mission duration. Seven Venus gravity assists gradually reduce SPPs perihelion from 35 solar radii (RS) for the first orbit to less than 10 RS for the final three orbits. In this paper we present the science, mission concept and the baseline vehicle for SPP, and examine how the mission will address the key science questions.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Fox, N. J. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Velli, M. C. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Bale, S. D. (California Univ. Berkeley, CA, United States)
Decker, R. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Driesman, A. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Howard, R. A. (Naval Research Lab. Washington, DC, United States)
Kasper, J. C. (Michigan Univ. Ann Arbor, MI, United States)
Kinnison, J. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Kusterer, M. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Lario, D. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Lockwood, M. K. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Mccomas, D. J. (Southwest Research Inst. San Antonio, TX, United States)
Raouafi, N. E. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Szabo, Adam (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
June 6, 2017
Publication Date
November 11, 2015
Publication Information
Publication: Space Science Reviews
Volume: 204
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0038-6308
Subject Category
Computer Programming and Software
Solar Physics
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
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