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The Sun & Earth are a Connected System



How and why does the Sun vary? How does the Earth respond? What are the impacts to humanity?

Image to the right: Our Sun, variable Star, interacting parts Magnetic Fields, Plasmas, Energetic Particles

The Sun’s varying elements are Radiation, Solar Wind, and Energetic Particles. The interacting parts are Solar Wind and Energetic Particles.

Earth and it's Magnetic Fields

Image to the lower right: The Sun interacts with the Earth with the following elements: Magnetic Fields, Atmosphere, Plasmas, and Energetic Particles

  • Understand how interplanetary space and the Earth’s environment respond to solar variability with the ultimate goal of a reliable predictive capability
  • Obtain scientific knowledge relevant to mitigation or accommodation of undesirable effects of space weather effects on humans and human technology on the ground and in space
  • Understand how space weather affects hardware performance and operation in space

AstrnautsConsequences of Space Weather


  • High altitude aircraft exposure to radiation, especially near the Poles
  • Navigational and GPS interference


  • Threat of sporadic radiation to astronauts
  • Potential damage to spacecraft electronics

hubble and shuttleScience

  • Understand how the Sun works
  • Understand how Geospace responds to solar and heliospheric variations

Technology Infrastructure

  • Disruption/failure of communication satellites
  • Power grid disruption problems/equipment failure

cloudsClimate Change

  • Global temperature variations
  • Predictive capability for climatic changes

LWS Objectives

Living With a Star is a cross-cutting program whose goals and objectives have the following links to each of the four NASA Strategic Enterprises:

  1. Space Science: LWS quantifies the physics, dynamics, and behavior of the Sun-Earth system over the 11-year solar cycle.
  2. Earth Science: LWS improves understanding of the effects of solar variability and disturbances on terrestrial climate change.
  3. Human Exploration and Development: LWS provides data and scientific understanding required for advanced warning of energetic particle events that affect the safety of humans.
  4. Aeronautics and Space Transportation: LWS provides detailed characterization of radiation environments useful in the design of more reliable electronic components for air and space transportation systems.