satellite and the sun
Original Published Date: 
Friday, July 19, 2019

Full article issued by The ARC Training Centre for Cubesats, Uavs & their Applications (CUAVA).

Professor Iver Cairns, Professor in Space Physics and Director of the ARC Training Centre CUAVA at the University of Sydney, has been selected by NASA for two satellite missions to study our Sun and its effects on space weather. Professor Cairns is the only international co-investigator to be selected for both critical missions. These missions will do fundamental, world-leading science on the causes of space weather, which impacts our daily lives.

The NASA SMall EXplorer (SMEX) missions are designed to further our understanding of the Sun and its dynamic effects on space. The missions which Professor Cairns has been selected as co-investigator are called PUNCH (Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere), which will study the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, and how it generates the solar wind, and TRACERS (Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites), which will study how magnetic fields around Earth interact with those from the Sun.

Although built in the USA, the six new satellites for PUNCH and TRACERS will provide great case studies for students, postdoctoral researchers, scientists, and industry people involved in the ARC training centre. Professor Cairns says that CUAVA researchers' participation in these missions will benefit the five CubeSat missions that CUAVA anticipates flying in the next five years.

Photo credit: 

Image: the satellites will study space weather generated by the Sun. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/NASA (Public Domain).