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NASA and Solar Cycle Predictions. W. Dean Pesnell Project Scientist, Solar Dynamics Observatory Member, Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel.

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NASA and Solar Cycle Predictions

W. Dean Pesnell

Project Scientist, Solar Dynamics Observatory

Member, Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel


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NASA’s mandate is to build, fly, and operate spacecraft in the hostile environment of space. Our success comes from trying to understand what can go wrong and building and operating appropriate payloads.

Things go right, things go worng, but the mandate is still there.


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The Solar Cycle in the Corona the hostile environment of space. Our success comes from trying to understand what


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The Solar Dynamics Observatory the hostile environment of space. Our success comes from trying to understand what

SDO, the first mission of Living With a Star, will provide the data needed to understand the solar convection zone and how magnetic field is assembled and dissipated in the solar atmosphere.


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Backup Slides Follow the hostile environment of space. Our success comes from trying to understand what


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Radiation Hazards must be Understood to be Mitigated the hostile environment of space. Our success comes from trying to understand what

  • Radiation hazard is different for every orbit and duration

    • Incident particles range from cosmic rays to highly-relativistic electrons to solar protons

  • Missions can have a 10-year leadtime, the Heliophysics Roadmap shows missions out to 2020!

  • An understanding of the hazard in each of various study orbits may determine how the mission is designed

  • Near-real-time knowledge of radiation hazard is also required

    • This requires short-term predictions of activity


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