SHIELD unites and leverages the expertise of more than 45 world-class researchers from 18 partner institutions to understand our heliospheric shield.



Vision: The vision of the Solar wind with Hydrogen Ion charge Exchange and Large-Scale Dynamics (SHIELD) DRIVE Science Center (DSC) is to understand the nature and structure of the heliosphere.

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.