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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum
Consider an accelerated research initiative in solar physics to take advantage of the large data sets expected from the Yohkoh and SOHO experiments during the solar maximum, so that knowledge gained can be rapidly put to use.
Sponsor or cosponsor a community guest investigator program for collaborations on analysis and interpretation of the data from the Navy solar and upper-atmosphere experiments. By enhancing the productivity of these experiments and bringing in useful external expertise, such a program would help speed the National Space Weather Program's rapid application of new knowledge.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DOE Roles and Responsibilities
DOE is responsibile for verification of compliance with the nuclear test ban treaties and for monitoring for the proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons. The department executes this responsibility in part through a suite of space-based, remote-sensing instruments. These instruments and their space platforms are potentially susceptible to space environmental effects, including false signals, single-event upsets, communication interruptions, and spacecraft failures. The probability of such deleterious effects rises as solar activity increases. To ensure confidence in the primary mission measurements, DOE flies energetic-particle and plasma sensors to monitor the space environment. This activity is carried out primarily by DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which also is responsible for the primary mission measurements. Data from the environmental monitors are supplied in near-real time to both NOAA SEC and the Air Force 55th Space Weather Squadron and are crucial in specifying and forecasting conditions in the space environment. In addition, at LANL, DOE maintains its expertise in the analysis and interpretation of environmental data as well as space theory and modeling. Finally, with support from NASA, these data are supplied for use in NASA's ISTP program.
Historically, the space environment monitoring task at LANL has been carried out synergistically with a program of basic research funded by NASA. One element of this program relevant to readiness for the solar maximum is LANL's participation in the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). The solar wind experiment for ACE is conducted by LANL. Data from this experiment will be supplied to NOAA in real time for space weather predictions and will also be used for a variety of scientific studies during the solar maximum.
Assessment of DOE Activities for the Solar Maximum
Although DOE does not have a particular program targeted for the solar maximum, it has committed to continuing to field space environmental sensors as a part of its ongoing space programs and to support ongoing and expeditious analysis and distribution of those data. Also, as noted above, through LANL, DOE will provide real-time solar wind data from ACE for both scientific purposes and space weather forecasting, as well as the expertise needed to interpret the data. Finally, DOE will continue to maintain its expertise in flight hardware, data analysis and interpretation, and theory required to support its space-based activities.
DOE's intention to continue its current space environment monitoring and research activities is a realistic agency response to the challenge posed by the solar maximum and the use of its space-based assets. In addition, the committees believe that DOE should concern itself