Solar and Heliospheric Research
The Lunar and Planetary Laboratory has had a long history studying the Sun’s atmosphere and magnetic field as it moves outward at supersonic speeds throughout the solar system until it encounters the local interstellar medium. The region of the interstellar space near the Sun that is ‘carved out’ by the solar wind is known as the Heliosphere. Current LPL researchers study many different aspects of the Heliosphere, including how it affects the transport of galactic cosmic rays within the solar system, as well as the acceleration and transport of high-energy solar particles, both of which comprise the space radiation environment. LPL researchers have had significant involvement in the Voyager spacecraft missions which are currently exploring the boundaries of the Heliosphere, as well as involvement with other spacecraft missions aimed at studying the Sun and solar wind, such as the Advanced Composition Explorer and Ulysses, and also in the "mission to touch the Sun," Parker Solar Probe.