Sun-Earth Connection 2003 Roadmap
The Sun-Earth Connection 2003 Roadmap 

 Understand the Sun, Heliosphere and Planetary Environments as a Single Connected System

Life on Earth prospers in a biosphere that is sustained by energy from the Sun.  The Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetic field generally protect the biosphere against the more dangerous electromagnetic radiation and particles emanating from the Sun.  In turn, the extended magnetic field of the Sun shields the Earth from very high-energy radiation that originates at supernovae and other cataclysmic events outside the solar system.  Within NASA's Office of Space Science, the Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Division's primary goal is to Understand the Sun, heliosphere, and planetary environments as a single connected system.  

The 2003 Roadmap outlines the future of the SEC Division.  Science objectives are presented and prioritized and the programs and missions necessary to address these objectives are identified.  

To accomplish its overarching goal, the SEC Division investigates the physics of the Sun, the heliosphere, the local interstellar medium, and all planetary environments within the heliosphere.  Taken together, these studies encompass the scientific disciplines of solar physics, heliospheric physics, magnetospheric physics, and aeronomy.  They address problems such as solar variability, the responses of the planets to such variability, and the interaction of the heliosphere with the galaxy.

Recent years have witnessed the growing importance of SEC investigations focused upon space weather, the diverse array of dynamic and interconnected phenomena that affect both life and society.  Space weather effects disturb radio and radar propagation through the ionosphere, damage objects or astronauts outside the Earth’s atmosphere, substantially modify the ozone layer, and may induce some climate shifts.  Understanding space weather effects becomes more important as the government and private sectors rely increasingly on space- and ground-based assets subject to the influences of the space environment. 


The Sun-Earth Connection 2003 Roadmap 

Understand the Sun, Heliosphere and Planetary Environments as a Single Connected System

Roadmap PDF Files
Full Document 15800 K
Front Cover 585 K
Front Cover Caption 483 K
Table of Contents 523 K
Section I: Executive Summary 1685 K
Section II: SEC Science Objectives and Research Focus Areas 3185 K
Section III: SEC Mission Roadmap 939 K
Section IV: SEC Technology 1085 K
Section V: Theory and Modeling 544K
Section VI: Education and Public Outreach 1242 K
Section VII: Critical Factors and External Assessment 578 K
Appendix A: SEC Roadmap Team 531 K
Appendix B: Acronyms 533 K
Appendix C: Comparison between the 2003 SEC Roadmap and the 2002 Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey      549 K
Appendix D: SEC Mission Fact Sheets 10280 K
Back Cover 86 K
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Roadmap Archive:

NASA's Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Division has formed a Roadmap Committee that will update the SEC Strategic Plan for 2003-2028 with the participation of the SEC community as an input to the OSS Strategic Plan.

The current members of the Roadmap team are: Stephen Fuselier (chair), Thomas Duvall (co-chair), Brian Anderson, Ed DeLuca, Don Hassler, Mike Hesse, Roberta Johnson, Randy Jokipii, Janet Kozyra, Bill Kurth, Craig Pollock, Ray Roble, Ed Roelof, Karl Schreiver, Nathan Schwadron, Harlan Spence, Steve Suess, Gary Swenson, Roy Torbert, Tim Van Sant, Todd Hoeksema. 

The SEC Division's primary goal is to: Understand the Sun, heliosphere, and planetary environments as a single connected system.  

The three primary science objectives are to:

  • Understand the changing flow of energy and matter throughout the Sun, heliosphere, and planetary environments.
  • Explore the fundamental physical processes of space plasma systems.
  • Define the origins and societal impacts of variability in the Sun-Earth connection.