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About the Project: SWEAP Science Featured Topics

The Solar Probe Plus (SPP) mission aims to directly observe the processes and dynamics that characterize the Sun's corona and outwardly expanding solar wind and energetic particles. In order to accomplish this, SPP will use a series of gravitational encounters with the planet Venus to gradually lower the orbit of the spacecraft until it enters the outer atmosphere, or corona, of the Sun.

The primary science goal of the Solar Probe Plus mission is to determine the structure and dynamics of the Sun's coronal magnetic field, understand how the solar corona and wind are heated and accelerated, and determine what mechanisms accelerate and transport energetic particles.

  1. Objective: Follow the flow of energy from the solar corona into the accelerating solar wind
    1. Measure the energy of the solar wind and corona as a function of distance
    2. Determing which processes are responsible for heating the outer corona and the solar wind
    3. Understand the important of plasma instabilities and collisions
  2. Objective: Determine the importance of magentic fields in shaping the final nature of the solar wind
    1. Connect the large structure in the solar wind to their solar sources
    2. Understand how slow solar wind is accelerated
    3. Understand the variable magnetic connection between the corona and the solar wind
    4. Discover the smallest coronal structures embedded in the solar wind
  3. Objective: Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles
    1. Understand particle acceleration by CMEs and interplanetary shocks
    2. Understand the acceleration and transport of particles from solar flares into the solar wind
    3. Determine if stochastic in-situ acceleration and energetic particle transport is significant

    SAO     SSL     NASA



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