The transition of Solar Probe Plus, which includes LASP-provided hardware, to phase B offers an opportunity to present the motivating science and engineering concepts behind this mission to the LASP community.
The Solar Probe Plus mission is a historic endeavor to send a spacecraft closer to the Sun than ever before, with the goal of using in-situ and remote measurements to address some of the longest-standing questions in heliophysics:
What processes maintain the 1,000,000 K corona above the 6,000 K photosphere? What processes are responsible for heating and accelerating the solar wind? What are the source populations, acceleration mechanisms, and transport mechanisms for solar energetic particles (SEPs)? What is the distribution of interplanetary dust close to the Sun?
In this talk, these motivating questions will be discussed, along with the Solar Probe Plus mission concept (including an explanation of the ‘Plus’). The spacecraft and instrument suites will be described, with particular focus on the FIELDS instrumentation for measuring electric and magnetic fields, as well as the challenges inherent in making measurements in the near-Sun environment. Finally, planned FIELDS measurements and the ways in which they will contribute to answering the mission-motivating questions will be discussed.