The scope of our space research program extends from the Sun to the very edge of the solar system, where, some 8 billion miles from Earth, the outflow of electrically charged particles from the Sun (the solar wind) encounters the Local Interstellar Medium. Using spacecraft data, theoretical analysis, and sophisticated computer models, Institute scientists are investigating a variety of topics in space science, including terrestrial and planetary magnetospheres, planetary geology and atmospheres, the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the origin and properties of the solar wind, the hydrology and radiation environment of Mars, and solar and planetary system formation. The majority of our research activities fall in two main fields: heliophysics and planetary science. In addition, we have a small but growing astrophysics research program.
Some past, present, and future heliophysics and planetary missions with SwRI participation include:
Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS)
Deep Space 1 (DS-1)
Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE).
Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX)
JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) (ESA)
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Mars Express (ESA)
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
Solar Orbiter (ESA)
Two Wide-angle Imaging Neutral-atom Spectrometers (TWINS)
Venus Express (ESA)
Van Allen Probes
CubeSats (e.g., CUSP, CERES) and rockets (e.g., GREECE, Big Dog)