Artist’s impression of the SPP spacecraft at closest approach to the Sun with the WISPR field of view superimposed. The opto-mechanical layout of NRL’s WISPR is shown on the right.
Artist’s impression of the SPP spacecraft at closest approach to the Sun with the WISPR field of view superimposed. The opto-mechanical layout of NRL’s WISPR is shown on the right.

Objectives

  • Understand the morphology, velocity, acceleration, and density of evolving solar wind structures when they are close to the Sun.
  • Derive the 3D structure of the solar corona through which in-situ measurements are made to determine the sources of the solar wind.
  • Determine the roles of turbulence, waves, and pressure-balanced structures in the solar wind.
  • Measure the physical properties of SEP-producing shocks and their CME drivers as they evolve in the corona and inner heliosphere.

Approach
WISPR: Wide-field visible light heliospheric imager for the NASA Solar Probe Plus mission

  • NRL is WISPR PI institution for NASA; consortium of US and international science partners
  • NRL will develop the WISPR instrument and will operate it after launch
  • Builds on successful NRL SECCHI heliospheric imagers on the NASA STEREO mission

Solar Probe Plus (SPP) Mission: July 2018 Launch

  • SPP will explore one of the last regions of the inner solar system to be visited by a spacecraft, the Sun’s outer atmosphere (or corona) where it extends into space
  • SPP will complete 24 orbits about the Sun over 7 years, coming as close as 3.7 million miles (8.5 Rs) above the solar photosphere

Deliverable/Value/Accomplishment

  • NRL will deliver WISPR to NASA in July 2015; this will include NRL in-house conception and optical design of SoloHI, including the development of an innovative radiation hard, Advanced Pixel Sensor compact camera for flight on SPP. The prototype detector performance is similar to that previously achieved only with charge coupled device detectors
  • NRL will deliver to NASA the SPP Mission operations and data analysis from on site at NRL-DC
  • Currently the Mission is in Phase-B
  • WISPR will determine the fine-scale 3D electron density and velocity structure of the corona and the source of Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) producing shocks