Research

The global nature of the heliosphere still eludes our understanding. SHIELD is developed from observations, expertise in kinetic physics and MHD physics.

Vision: The goal of this DSC is to develop a new predictive global model for the heliosphere. SHIELD (Solar wind with Hydrogen Ion charge Exchange and Large-Scale Dynamics) uses a combination of observations, theory, localized kinetic and MHD models to achieve this goal.

Research objectives: To achieve this goal, this DSC answers the following questions:

  1. What is the global structure of the heliosphere?
  2. How do pickup ions evolve from “cradle to grave” and affect heliospheric processes?
  3. How does the heliosphere interact with and influence the local interstellar medium (LISM)?
  4. How do cosmic rays get filtered by and transported through the heliosphere?

Benefits and potential impacts of successful research: The heliosphere is an immense shield that protects the solar system from harsh galactic radiation. This radiation affects both life on Earth and human space exploration. The heliosphere is a window into processes occurring in all other astrospheres. Understanding these processes enables predictions about the astrospheric conditions necessary to create habitable planets.