Even before the official dawn of the Space Age—that is, the launch of the Sputnik and Explorer spacecraft in 1957-1958—LASP was engaged in space physics research. Using rockets to get to the fringes of outer space, LASP researchers made pioneering observations of the Sun and Earth’s upper atmosphere.
This talk will recount some of the earlier history of LASP’s contributions to Sun-Earth (“solar terrestrial”) studies. A principal focus of the talk will be the modern studies of energetic particles and electromagnetic fields in Earth’s cosmic neighborhood. LASP has been playing an increasingly prominent role in forefront studies of Earth’s “magnetosphere” and LASP researchers are using this core terrestrial knowledge to advance planetary and astrophysical understanding as well. Moreover, study and understanding of the space environment of Earth is absolutely essential for our knowledge of “space weather” which represents a major threat to our modern technological society. The presentation will address all these aspects and will conclude with a look forward to future LASP programs and opportunities.