Environment for Human Exploration and RObotic Experimentation in Space
European and international space missions, and to produce new value-added data
products to provide the best estimate and prediction of the threats that
missions of exploration will encounter in reaching beyond the Earth orbit, to
the Moon, to Mars and beyond. The scope of the project is to characterise the
environment in space, to provide useful information for planning and
implementing space missions, manned or robotic. We plan to realize effective
scientific exploitation of space data combining different datasets from current
solar system robotic explorations with data from current and past space-based
and complementing ground-based observations, joined with new data sources from
the newest missions. We plan to add value to the data by better organising it
and cross link it, by applying state of the art models and developing new ones
to analyse it. We plan additionally to assimilate the heliospheric data in space
environment simulations. The wealth of data, models and simulations commanded by
the project will be used to characterise the evolution of space in time, looking
forward over the future at the possible scenarios for planning new missions. We
will consider key aspects on how the expected space environment can affect
missions, in terms of predicting the impact on reliability and correct
functionality of instrumentation as well as in terms of main radiation
components affecting the health of astronauts. The proposing team would realize
a wide international synergy in the fields of solar and space physics including
experts from 11 European countries, a space-faring partner from Russia, and
collaborators from US and Canada. The set of public deliverables published
on-line facilitates access to the higher level data for those scientists who are
not part of the team. The research work will be accompanied with wide
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Oude Markt 13
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
€ 349 999
Myriam Witvrouw (Dr.)
Sort by EU Contribution
MTA Konkoly Thege Miklos Csillagaszati Kutatointezet
€ 119 999,70
Centrum Badan Kosmicznych
€ 110 000,40
€ 129 999,75
P.N. LEBEDEV PHYSICAL INSTITUTE OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
€ 150 000
€ 120 000
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
€ 95 000
€ 120 000
KONINKLIJKE STERRENWACHT VAN BELGIE
€ 256 721,60
SVEUCILISTE U ZAGREBU
€ 80 000
MAGYAR TUDOMANYOS AKADEMIA CSILLAGASZATI ES FOLDTUDOMANYI KUTATOKOZPONT
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
€ 138 000
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI CATANIA
€ 95 000
ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI ASTROFISICA
€ 95 000,40
SCHWEIZERISCHES FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUER HOCHGEBIRGSKLIMA UND MEDIZIN IN DAVOS
€ 90 000
GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITAT GOTTINGENSTIFTUNG OFFENTLICHEN RECHTS
€ 50 000
Grant agreement ID: 284461
1 March 2012
28 February 2015
€ 2 523 910,56
€ 1 999 720,85
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Danger in space
Grant agreement ID: 284461
1 March 2012
28 February 2015
€ 2 523 910,56
€ 1 999 720,85
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
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Final Report Summary - EHEROES (Environment for Human Exploration and RObotic Experimentation in Space)
Project context and objectives
Space exploration is no gala dinner. Exploring space is a heroic endeavour for brave people needing preparation and support. The consortium eHeroes intends to do all that is possible within the reach of modern science to make sure that such heroes will return safely to the Earth after a successful mission. In the words of President Kennedy, this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. The last part is as important as the first and eHeroes makes it its goal.
The conditions to be encountered during space exploration vary in time over different scales. The Sun has a cycle of approximately 11 years over which the activity of the Sun varies very significantly affecting the whole solar system. At solar maximum there are more frequent solar eruptions (called coronal mass ejections) and flares posing serious, quite possibly lethal, threats to explorers: the chance is quite high that one such event could cause intense doses of radiation, an event to be prepared for to protect the lives of astronauts and the integrity of the instrumentation. At solar minimum, the threats of solar events is lower (but still non zero) but unfortunately, the level of cosmic ray radiation is higher posing yet another risk, that of long term exposure causing fatigue on materials and exposing explorers to elevated risk of cancer.
Understanding how threats change in time is far from easy and requires a set of interdisciplinary competences. eHeroes makes this its goal, forming a consortium where all these expertises are present. Three main sources of information are needed to obtain the best possible characterization of the environment expected during missions of exploration.
First, data obtained in situ in space provide direct measurements of radiation risks and their variation in time. Second, remote observations of the solar events from ground observatories or from space-borne observatories (such as SDO, Proba-2, Stereo and many others) provide information on the drivers of the space environment. Third, the models, physics-based or empirical, implemented in computer codes and online services provide nowcasting, forecasting or historical information from past events. The three elements need to be used together for one obvious reason: none provide a complete picture. In-situ observations are very few and far apart. Unlike weather stations dispersed over the whole Earth, we have very few robes in space, typically only limited to the near Earth environment. Remote sensing can of course only glimpse at the reality and it is typically limited to the relative vicinity of the Sun. Models can bring things together and fill the gaps, provided a solid understanding is informing the design.
The eHeroes project does precisely this: uses data and models of the space environment to provide a complete view of how the space environment changes on the scale of days, during an event, and in the long term, over a solar cycle or even from solar cycle to solar cycle. Both time scales are crucial for space exploration. An analogy explains the spirit. If planning a trip to an exotic island, one first looks at the climate asking the question of what period of the year is the most pleasant to vacation there. But then once on the island and planning a trip to the beach one looks at the weather forecast to see if it is going to rain today. The same for a trip to Mars, for example. When planning a mission one asks what are the plusses and minuses of launching the mission during different phases of the solar cycle. Of course, this is not the only consideration, as others are important too (for example orbital convenience, fuel consumption and political ramifications, as was the case for the Apollo project), but it is a key aspect. Then, hopefully in the not too distant future, when the mission is ongoing it is important to predict day by day and hour by hour what are the conditions in the region where the spacecraft is. Advanced notice can prepare the instruments and more importantly the future explorers to take preventive action.
The example of Mars is a grand goal for the future, but eHeroes focuses on the threats that all types of missions of exploration, human or robotic, will encounter in reaching beyond the Earth orbit, to the Moon, to Mars and beyond. eHeroes takes also a broader and deeper view by trying to use new and available data, models, theories and computer simulations to further our understanding of the space environment. The scope of the project is to characterize the environment in space, to prepare the needed information for planning and implementing space missions, manned or robotic.
The goal outlined above is to prepare the needed tools and data sources to understand and predict the effect of the space environment on future planned missions of human and robotic exploration of the solar system. The challenge is summarised in the figure above, the Sun provides a source of radiation, energetic particles and solar wind that permeates the solar system. The sources at the Sun and their evolution in the solar system are highly variable on short time scales (space weather events such as coronal mass ejections, solar energetic particle events and flares) and on longer scales (space climate on scales of the 11 year solar cycle and on longer scales over many solar cycles). The impact on the Earth has been the focus of many other projects and it will not be considered here again. The focus will be entirely on space exploration.
The strategy of eHeroes is to bring together some of the best expertise in Europe with important international collaborations, with the United States and Canada. Our work is organised into 4 scientific work packages that are:
● WP2, Value-added data on solar sources, focusing on the data sources relative to the sources of the space environment in the Sun, organising them into metadata formats and coordinating them into online databases and data services that focus on providing the user with additional information and data mining tools by cross linking different data sources.
● WP3, Solar and Space Events and their Evolution, that focus on the evolution of the solar sources and of solar events and especially on coronal mass ejections and solar energetic particles.
● WP4, Exploring Space in Time, that aims at providing a better view and understanding of the conditions of the space environment and its evolution in time for the next several years, and making a feasibility study of how the most extreme solar events are expected to occur in space and time in near future, thus allowing the possibility to mitigate radiation hazard and damage to human and robotic space exploration in the future.
● WP5, Impact on Space Exploration, focuses on the direct impact of the space environment to space missions, human and robotic, providing needed information to plan and operate space missions beyond the low Earth orbit, to the Moon and Mars.
Two additional important work packages will deal with the management of the project (WP1) and the dissemination and outreach to the general public (WP6) to increase awareness of space exploration and of its great challenges and potential societal and cultural benefits.
Project Context and Objectives:
The objectives of eHeroes are organized in a integrated an synergistic plan where four interconnected work packages (WP) track space weather events from their solar origin (WP2), their propagation (WP3), their changes over the solar cycle (WP4) and their impact on space exploration (WP5). Below we reports the objective of each WP.
WP2 – Value-added Data on Solar Sources
The title of the work package, "Value-added Data on Solar Sources" implies a general endeavour - to produce higher level data (information) from the direct observations, the raw data. The goal of WP2 is to find relevant information from the existing observations for the environment of space activities. The targeted phenomena cover the key questions of solar phenomena determining the evolution of space weather processes. The main objectives were as follows.
The most important solar sources of space weather are the explosive events, the flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), their forecast is a crucial objective. On short time scale new features and quantities had to be found for the study of the the pre-flare behaviour of sunspot groups. The aim was an entirely new approach for flare forecast, the pre-flare dynamics was addressed rather than unstable magnetic configurations. New methods were also addressed on mid-term and long time scales to test the temporal range of the flare risk assessment.
The testing and refinements of existing methods for different active regions and magnetic flux configurations were also important objectives for the assessment of flare productivity. It had to be checked whether higher resolution of magnetic observations improves the reliability of the fractal analysis methods of flare forecast. Further efforts had to improve the determination of the 3D configuration of the magnetic field above the surface because it also may contain flare productive elements. This improvement also needs new high resolution observations.
The solar wind is a basic component of space weather. Important objectives were to identify the sources of slow and fast solar wind among the surface magnetic structures and to track paths and shape of the streams toward the interplanetary space, to determine cyclic changes of the solar wind sources, and to measure the density and temperature of the streams. The entire process is fairly complex, the streams were investigated by several instruments and cooperating teams.
An important aim was to clarify the role of the small scale phenomena in the coronal heating, the source of the solar wind. The numerous and omnipresent microflares were addressed in the corona to reveal their role in the coronal heating. They are effective also during solar activity minima when the heating mechanisms by MHD waves are less efficient in the absence of active regions. The work needed the data of instruments designed and operated by the project partners.
Another addressed component of space weather was the variation of the intensity of the solar radiation, the solar irradiance. The goal was to study it with high cadence data and to examine separately the total solar irradiance (TSI) and the solar spectral irradiance (SSI), this latter means the study of spectral ranges having the highest impact on the atmospheric processes. This field is strongly supported by a fairly large ensemble of space instruments.
WP3 – Solar and Space Events and their Evolution
The main objectives of WP3 (Solar and Space Events and their Evolution), as described in Annex I of the eHEROES project, were divided into 8 tasks and 7 resulting deliverables. The individual tasks were following the chain of events nature of solar eruptions which become space events from their slow build-up, through their initiation, energy release, the source of material they expel into the interplanetary space, their overall evolution and propagation into the heliosphere. The 8th task (D3.7) was aimed at achieving a prompt dissemination of the insight gained through this “chain of events” treatment of solar and ensuing space events. Starting with the build-up of free magnetic energy and magnetic helicity prior to CMEs and related flares, the helicity budget of CME-prolific active regions was to be drawn, and CME precursor events to be identified. In order to improve our understanding of the onset mechanisms of CMEs and flares, data-constrained (if possible data-driven) MHD modelling was to be carried out. The role of magnetic reconnection in the energy release process was to be investigated to refine analytical CME models and further our understanding of the reconnection region and large-scale changes in the corona as a consequence of the eruption. The early evolution of CMEs in the low corona and their relation to flares - combining high-resolution multi-wavelength and multi-temperature space-borne data - were to be carried out. The impact of CMEs on the global corona with emphasis on large-scale magnetic coupling between magnetic fields of the expanding CME and external magnetic structures in the global corona, the excitation of global coronal waves and acceleration of particles, with special focus on SEP generation and propagation was to be investigated. The sources of the expelled CME material were to be investigated in case studies. Finally, the 3D structure of CMEs and their evolution into the heliosphere over a range of distance scales, with emphasis on comparing remotely sensed and in-situ observations at a range of distances supported by modelling and simulations completed the chain of events covered by WP3. Last, but not least, dissemination of the novel insights gained from research was to promptly aid impact analysis for space missions. All the objectives of WP3, described above, were aimed at improving our understanding of solar drivers of space weather and improving European space weather forecasting efforts.
WP4 – Exploring Space in Time
The objective of work package 4 was to make a feasibility study of the possibility of improved scientific forecasting of solar activity and solar bursts, i.e. sunspots and solar flares. Using recently found systematic patterns in the longitudinal and hemispheric asymmetries in the Sun, work package 4 studied the possibility to predict the occurrence of solar activity and bursts in space and time. To achieve this goal the work package joined experts of sunspots, flares, forecasting, modeling, and satellite experiments into a focused collaboration. The work of work package 4 is important for the whole space science community, since even small, systematic patterns in the spatial-temporal distribution of solar bursts would have enormous economical and practical significance for both robotic and human space flight programs by allowing the mitigation of radiation hazards and damage on humans and instrumentation during lengthy space missions. Work package 4 is also closely related to the work of other work packages, providing them with important background information about the long-term temporal and spatial distribution of sunspots and solar flares.
One of the main goals of work package 4 during the first half of the project was to study the various existing solar activity forecasting methods. Different methods to scientifically forecast the solar activity in the future will be reviewed and analyzed. A few methods are selected and used to construct the most probable maximum of the overall solar activity and length of solar cycle 24. New methods are developed based on the hemispheric asymmetry of the spatial-temporal distribution of the sunspots and flares. These studies will form the basis for the related distributions for sunspots and flares to be constructed during the project. Data from satellite instruments, e.g. Proba-2/SWAP, CORONAS-F/SphinX and NOAA satellites, are gathered and analyzed to find the optimal rotation parameters for the different forms of solar activity, and to investigate the temporal evolution of these parameters. During the second half of the project the work on the rotation parameters will be finished and the optimal parameters will be determined. Using the obtained parameters and rotation models and the new methods on hemispheric and longitudinal asymmetries, samples of probability maps of the distribution of solar bursts in time and space will be created, thus concluding the feasibility study of solar burst forecasting.
WP5: Impact on Space Exploration
WP5 is the central WP of the eHEROES project because its goal is to exploit the existing data obtained in the recent and ongoing space researches for characterization of space environment and prediction of threats for future manned and robotic space missions from the Earth to the Moon, to Mars and beyond. Due to limited resources of the project, we concentrated our efforts on several specific problems of space weather physics using the existing scientific background and our progress in experimental and theoretical studies achieved earlier in the project. These problems concern methods of the space environment modeling in the heliosphere, studies of influence of radiation field and the upper atmosphere on functioning of space instruments on the near-Earth orbits, interaction of space plasma with spacecraft and planets like Moon and Mars. These studies are important for current and future space missions, providing not only better understanding of physical processes in the heliosphere and in the Earth magnetosphere and upper atmosphere, but also generate a knowledge of how space environment conditions influence on reliability and lifetime of space missions. Thus, the results of the WP5 will be useful to increase efficiency and safety of the missions and researches.
The specific tasks of WP5 are addressed the methods of data assimilation for the most relevant description of space environment, an analysis of the ionizing radiation conditions during the missions to Moon and Mars and computer simulation of the Moon environment, a detailed consideration of interaction of the space environment with space-based instruments and satellites, including the charged particle and high atmosphere impacts on functioning of solar instruments on LEO high-latitude orbits, and computer simulation of the interaction of the space environment with satellites under quiet and active solar conditions. The objectives of WP5 are closely linked with the goals of other WPs, namely, with the WP2 studies of value-added data on solar sources of space plasma and solar wind, with the WP3 investigations of the solar magnetic field structure and forming of CMEs as the main drivers of the space weather, and with the WP4 studies of the solar activity phenomena and their evolution in time. In turn, WP5 tasks supply applications of the results of other WPs to real space missions and provide validation of the existing theoretical models, such as atmosphere density models and models of interaction between spacecraft and space environment.
The results of eHeores are presented in terms of the achievements for all the promised tasks of each scientific work package. Management (WP1) and dissemination (WP6) are reported elsewhere.
WP2 - Value-added Data on Solar Sources
The general endeavour of the project was to make advancements in methods and tools of observation, data evaluation, interpretation, and forecast for the phenomena of space weather, in other words the awareness of space situation. Progress has been achieved in the flare forecast, the analysis of pre-flare situations, the mechanisms of solar plasma outflows, the coronal heating by small scale eruptions as well as the solar spectral irradiance and its terrestrial and planetary atmospheric impacts. The term 'added value' means in all investigated cases a new information of diagnostic importance rendered to the directly observable raw data allowing the more reliable assessment of space weather situation. These are the contributions of Workpackage 2 to the common efforts of the project.
Task 2.1 Active region magnetic configurations as flare precursors (Lead - KO, participant - INAF)
The goal is to describe and test appropriately defined quantities constructed from photospheric data having diagnostic importance for flare forecast.
A proxy measure of the magnetic field gradient between opposite polarity sunspots has been defined to measure the nonpotentiality (indirectly: the magnetic free energy) of the active regions and their forecast potentials have been examined. The pre-flare behaviour of this parameter exhibited characteristic properties that are suitable to predict the intensity and time of an imminent flare. Its tracking may also allow to predict after an energetic flare whether further energetic flares can be expected. The procedure is a novelty among the flare forecast attempts and it is apparently one of the most versatile methods. A new automatic feature tracking program has been developed which is able to assist to a relevant forecast activity. The proxies defined on the entire sunspot group describe the overall nonpotentiality of the active region and they are suitable to assess the flaring in the next 24 hours, these numerical parameters will replace the traditional sunspot group classification schemes. The dynamics of x-ray precursor flares also has properties of diagnostic importance. On longer time scales the dynamics of solar active longitudes, revealed in this project, and new value-added data (sunspot tilt angle datasets) proved to be efficient in long-term predictions. Several new on-line materials serve the addressed aims. Active longitudes and their migration have been identified with a new method. These longitudinal domains are also locations of enhanced flare activity, their identification provides a new tool for mid-term flare forecast (KO).
A collaboration of the partners analysed the efficiencies of three flare forecast methods: based on sunspot dynamics, fractal structure and helicity. The manuscript has been prepared for submission (KO, INAF, UCT).
Task 2.2: Analysis and extrapolation of magnetograms (Lead - INAF, participants - CNRS, UCT)
The nonpotentiality (flaring capability) can also be characterised by the complexity of the magnetic field, the fractal and multifractal parameters, in other terms the level of intermittency, the discontinuous nature of fragmented fields. The investigations showed that low resolution observations (SOHO/MDI) were not indicative for the probability of flares but the increase of the resolution (SDO/HMI) and the distinction of polarities allowed to find pre-flare signatures in the fractal dimensions of magnetic fields. The presented works demonstrate the relationship between these parameters and the flaring activity, this makes the method suitable for forecast. It has been pointed out that earlier negative results can be ascribed to the low spatial resolution of the earlier observations, the recent high resolution magnetograms of SDO/HMI are indicative for flare risk.(INAF, UCT).
An active region has been studied by combining the accumulated helicity obtained from the observations with the linear force-free theory. The main phases of the emergence process of the studied region were described and related temporally with the occurrence of flares/CMEs. As for the relative intensity of the considered events, the linear force-free theory implies a direct correlation between the liberated energy and the product of the coronal helicity and the variation of alpha due to the event. Therefore, the higher the value of the accumulated coronal helicity, the smaller the force-free parameter variation required to produce the same decrease in the free energy during CMEs (INAF, CNRS, UCT).
The other approach addresses the 3D structure of the active region magnetic field. This is also necessary to estimate the free energy, the source of flare energy in this volume. A new method has been introduced to esteem the helicity in the corona above active regions. The dependence of the results on the different inversion codes of magnetic field measurements has been analysed, this dependence has an impact on the estimation of coronal helicity and free energy (INAF, CNRS, UCT).
Task 2.3: Identification of the quasi-stationary solar wind sources (Lead – UCL, participants - LPI, ROB)
The knowledge of the source regions of solar wind streams and the mechanisms of their channeling outward are important elements of space situation awareness, the work needed broad cooperation and the observations of several space instruments.
A new type of mechanism generating outflows has been studied by magnetic modelling at three levels above the surface. A high-altitude coronal null-point has been identified where interchange reconnection between closed fields of the active region and open fields of the coronal hole takes place channeling plasma flows into the solar wind. This scenario was supported by in-situ observations (CNRS, UCL). The continuation of this research revealed a two-step mechanism by which the plasma can escape even from below the closed field lines of an active region. In the first step the plasma flows along the closed loops until the nullpoint adjacent to a coronal hole and then a reconnection process directs it outwards (CNRS, UCL). Plasma outflows have been studied at the edges of solar active regions in several EUV spectral lines and their detailed 3D structures have been determined, they are found to be stationary flows persistently driven for several days or even weeks, they follow the magnetic field lines, they have a fan-like shape. Their drivers are probably magnetic reconnection between active region loops and long, low-density loops (CNRS, UCL). The photospheric origin of plasma streams have also been checked by element abundance investigations, the so called FIP bias studies because the FIP-bias values at the photospheric level differ from those at the coronal heights. These studies showed that the plasma can really escape from the photospheric height outwards (UCL-CNRS-KU Leuven). A multi-instrument case study tracked the path of the outflow along the open field lines from the source region through the solar wind surface toward the observable coronal rays (LPI, UCL, ROB). A further study also corroborated the outward plasma flow along the coronal streamers until a distance of two solar radii (LPI, UCL). Spectroscopic examinations showed that the coronal holes are source regions of rapidly varying fast solar wind while the intermediate wind streams (with speeds between those of fast and slow winds) originate from the border regions between coronal holes and active regions (UCL-CNRS).
Task 2.4: Study of the plasma heating and eruptive processes (nanoflares, bright points, micro-dimmings etc.) in small-scale coronal structures and their relevance with transient slow solar wind (Lead – LPI, KUL, ROB, UCL, SRC-PAS)
The investigations of this task were mostly based on space instruments designed and operated by the participants: TESIS and SPHINX on CORONAS-Photon, SWAP and LYRA on PROBA 2, besides the databases of STEREO and LASCO missions. Flare databases of SPHINX, SWAP and LYRA are created.
The work targeted the small scale events (SSE) which can mainly be investigated by the pioneering TESIS and SPHINX instrument allowing the detection of the smallest energy releases. The aim is to unveil the role of these events in the heating of the solar corona, the main cause of the solar wind. The solar microflares (size: 10 arcsec, duration is tens of minutes, energy: 1027 - 1030 ergs) were observed in the MGXII TESIS channel, the nanoflares (T about 1-2 MK, duration: 0.5-10 min) were studied with TESIS and SPHINX. High temperature (T > 4MK) plasma has been identified after the microflare peaks along with material eruption. Coronal signatures of nanoflares have not been identified but their plasma temperatures and high frequency are sufficient for a considerable contribution to the slow solar wind production. It has been shown that the weak flares can also be sources of coronal mass ejections during activity minima although some of them may dissolve in the ambient solar wind. It has been found that a solar wind transient may be considerably long due to the superposition of several transients produced by a series of flares. In summary it can be concluded that the examined low level events may be considerable components of the slow solar wind production in spite of their low intensity because of their large number.
Task 2.5: High cadence irradiance data and their modeling (Lead – PMOD/WRC, participants - INAF, KO)
Solar irradiance data have been analysed from the PICARD/PREMOS instrument observed in six wavelengths (210 nm, 215 nm, 266 nm, 535 nm, 607 nm and 782 nm), the aim was a detailed model of the solar spectral irradiance (SSI).
A considerable part of the work focused on calibration tasks because of the usual degradation problems of the instruments. A new semiempirical model has been developed for the solar irradiance variations. The COSIR (COde for Solar Irradiance Reconstruction) combines two previous models, the SATIRE-S ad COSI (COde for Solar Irradiance). The model considers five solar surface features (quiet Sun, sunspot umbrae, sunspot penumbrae, active network, and faculae) and calculate their synthetic spectra by using NLTE radiative transfer model. These spectra were applied to the distributions of the five solar features observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the resulting irradiance data have been compared with the PREMOS as well as SORCE and SPM/Virgo measurements. The agreement is extremely good in all cases except the 250-400 nm wavelength range. The long-term variation of SSI still has also differences from model predictions.
The SSI variability has also been studied in connection with planetary space weather. The impacts of the different spectral lines and wavelength ranges of the solar spectrum have been investigated on planetary atmospheres of different thicknesses, the atmospheric emission, airglow, electron production and ionosphere. In particular, the Ganymede and Uranus were addressed. The studies showed that precise knowledge of the solar irradiance in specific spectral lines and wavelength ranges (primarily the UV flux) is a powerful tool in the analyse of planetary atmospheres. For this reason new nanosatellite instruments are investigated and proposed for precise solar radiometry in 5 ultraviolet channels to have reliable data for the analysis of planetary atmospheric responses.
WP3 – Solar and Space Events and their Evolution
The objectives of WP3 (Solar and Space Events and their Evolution) set in Annex I has been achieved. All 7 Deliverables have been submitted. This “chain of event” treatment of the complex process of following coronal mass ejections from their build-up, initiation, first energy release, through their overall evolution and propagation into the heliosphere, ensured that various sub-tasks developed strong synergies with each other, and beneficiary teams worked together, exploring common aspects between different tasks. Each deliverable has been based on collaborative work, and had contributions from 3–6 beneficiaries. A large percentage of eHEROES beneficiaries, 11 out of the 15, have contributed to work in WP3. Furthermore, natural synergies developed between WP3 and WP2, in particular between work on D2.2 (Analysis and extrapolation of magnetograms), D3.1 (Pre-event build-up of free magnetic energy and helicity) and D3.2 (Observations, modeling and simulations of CME initiation and flare energy release) via the vital importance of state-of-the-art magnetic extrapolations in these processes. Furthermore, synergies developed with WP5 via the importance of a newly developed coronal composition analysis involving work on the following deliverables: D2.3 (The sources of the solar wind), D3.3 (FIP composition analysis and spectroscopy), D3.4 (The sources of CME material) and D3.5 (SEP Radiation Hazards) and D5.2 (Mission to Mars: perils and threats).
The quality of the scientific results obtained was high. A few selected highlights, exemplifying publications based on work done in WP3, are briefly summarised as follows. The development of a new method for the estimation of helicity along individual magnetic field lines (D2.2 & D3.1; Dalmasse et al 2013). Observational validation of the torus instability as CME initiation model (D3.2; Zuccarello et al. 2014). A novel CME-trigger mechanism by sunspot rotation was proposed, supported by data-constrained MHD simulations (D3.2; Török et al., 2013). Comparisons of solar and stellar coronal abundances were performed (D3.3; Huenemoeder et al., 2013). The first self-consistent application of EUV images to allow routine determination of erupted CME mass close to the Sun was developed and performed (D3.4; Williams et al 2013). Determination of the density of erupted CME material and an estimation of its magnetic field strength via the magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability was carried out (D3.4; Carlyle et al. 2013). It was shown that coronal dimming and CME cavity are linked; ≈20% of CME mass originates from coronal dimming (D3.4; Zangrilli, Harra et al., 2015). The first detailed studies on interacting CME events showed a lateral dependence in the interaction process (D3.6; Temmer et al. 2014).
The work in WP3 has produced 37 refereed journal publications (36 published, 1 submitted, several are relevant to more than one Work Packages), and the results have been presented all over the World at various conferences, including many invited talks. The coordinated effort led to maximal utilization of the different types of expertise represented by the beneficiaries, reaching the common goal formulated in Annex I: To improve our understanding and eventually our prediction capability of space storms and their origins, improving our understanding of space weather.
WP4 - Exploring Space in Time
We have studied the different methods of solar activity forecasting. The relations between the different forms of solar activity, in particular sunspots and flares, were examined, including the specific issues related to the recent period of unusually weak solar activity. A review paper presenting traditional and new methods to predict the height and timing of sunspot and flare activity for the ongoing solar cycle 24 is under review. These methods have also been presented in a number of scientific conferences, and in several popular lectures to general public.
Data from Proba-2/SWAP and CORONAS-F/SphinX satellite instruments have been collected and analyzed. SphinX level-1 small flares and brightenings catalogue was searched for events, which can be located on the solar disk using GOES event lists, and a database of all active regions that appeared on the Sun during the SphinX mission was created. SWAP EUV image database has been used to determine the temporal and spatial distribution of EUV activity since 2010. New methods have been developed to study the rotation of the EUV emission sources. The SphinX small flares and brightenings catalogue has also been used to study solar rotation during the deep minimum of 2009, and the optimum differential rotation parameters for these two datasets, as well as for the flares observed with GOES satellites and sunspots provided by NOAA/USAF were determined.
Two papers related to the new methods based on the asymmetric spatial-temporal distribution of solar magnetic fields have been published. Results show that hemispheric asymmetry of the heliospheric magnetic field extends over very large radial distances from in the inner to the outer heliosphere, and has a direct relation to the asymmetric evolution of solar coronal holes. The sources and evolution of these asymmetries were connected to the hemispherically asymmetric generation and transport of photospheric fields, leading to a stronger polar coronal hole field intensity in the southern hemisphere in the late declining phase of the cycle.
We have employed the method of differentially rotating coordinate system in order to find the optimum rotation parameters for sunspots and flares for a hemispherically asymmetric Sun. We have studied the evolution of the optimum rotation parameters in time (at yearly resolution), with special focus on recent years. Several papers on long-term solar rotation and hemispheric asymmetry of solar rotation have been published. A significant and persistent difference in the rotation of sunspots in the two hemispheres was found, with rotation parameters varying in time at a period of about 80-90 years. Moreover, strong evidence was found for the anti-correlation of the rotation periods of the two solar hemispheres, suggesting that a systematic interchange of angular momentum takes place between the two hemispheres at a period of about 80-90 years.
We have determined the optimum rotation parameters for solar X-ray flares observed by GOES satellites in 1977-2014 using two different methods, the least-squares method and the Bayesian inference method. The rotation parameters and their temporal evolution have been derived for different intensities of flares. The results show that both solar hemispheres have speeded their rotation since the late 1990s, and that the southern hemisphere rotated then faster than the northern hemisphere. Studying the long-term evolution of solar rotation using sunspots we found that a similar speed-up occurred only once earlier during the last 140 years. This emphasizes the exceptional character of this period, which also coincides with the start of the weakening solar activity and the breakdown of long-held relations between several solar indices. The speeding up of the Sun in the recent decades was also confirmed by using NOAA/USAF sunspot groups as tracers and using two different methods of determining the optimum parameters: the least-squares method and Bayesian inference.
We have studied the latitudinal and longitudinal distribution of sunspots and flares, separately for the two hemispheres. The latitudinal distribution of sunspots and flares during a solar cycle is known to form a “butterfly” pattern, but the flare wing is shorter than the corresponding sunspot wing. The time evolution of the momentary average latitude of a wing follows a 2nd degree polynomial. We developed methods to calculate maps of spatial-temporal distribution of flares for the short-term (e.g. from a few days to a few months) and for the long-term (e.g. up to a few years) future. For short-term forecasting, we used the most recent values for the rotation, latitudinal and longitudinal parameters. For long-term forecasting, we used predicted values for latitudinal and rotation parameters. The predicted rotation parameters for solar cycle 24 were obtained from the observed long-term evolution of rotation parameters of sunspots by taking their observed long-term periodicity and hemispheric asymmetry into account. Then we constructed samples of the probability maps of the spatial-temporal distribution of flares using the computer program specifically developed for this purpose. Accordingly, we have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of constructing improved maps of spatial-temporal distribution of sunspot and flare activity. The future evolution of solar activity during the ongoing cycle 24 will eventually allow for the comparison of these predictions with the actual activity.
In summary, the work package 4 has reached all of its goals in time, using the resources planned in Annex 1. It has produced interesting results and several papers presenting these results and the related methods have been published. The feasibility of improved spatial-temporal maps for the future development of solar flares has been demonstrated. These results encourage the development of the corresponding methods for future applications.
WP5 – Impact on Space Exploration
The aims of WP5 have been successively achieved. The main results concern development of specialized soft tools for modeling space environment impacts on space bodies, satellites, instruments and humans and their applications in real conditions of the planned space missions. Such tools as the FLIP model, the DREADCode, the iPic3D code were specially adapted for solving special tasks, which can arise during missions to Moon and Mars, and successfully tested. The effects produced by radiation belts in near-Earth space were analyzed in detail using the data of the recent solar experiments, which gave useful information about probable doses of ionizing radiation accumulated under different conditions. Using the data collected in solar observations on the CORONAS and PROBA2 satellites during orbital occultations, we investigated the effects of absorption of solar EUV radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere at different levels of solar activity and validated the existing and new atmosphere density models. These results provide not only information for planning the unobscured observations, but also being a means of monitoring of the upper atmosphere and its reaction on the disturbances induced by solar activity.
Considering task by task, the progress included the following achievements.
In Task 5.1 in collaboration with KUL, NOVELTIS has tested the solar wind MHD FLIP model and developed the roadmap for constructing a new 3D magnetogram-based model to forecast solar wind at L1 point. The applicability of data assimilation and its potential improvement have been demonstrated. The MHD FLIP model sensitivity study has been extensively enhanced with more clarifications on the use of the “representer technique” and the “single observation domains of influence”. The empirical solar wind model based on a freely distributed Python platform and the ballistic back-mapped method has been developed and evaluated. For the “quiet” solar activity (no CME, but CIR allowed) period (2005 – 2006) the modeled results show a better correlation for solar wind speed than for magnetic field strength with the performances. The model gave the time arrival delay of 1 to 1.5 day in comparison with the empirical PFFS extrapolation near the Earth, which agree with the previous results of Gressl et al. (2013). A new space mission has been proposed that seeks to fill the gaps in our scientific understanding of space weather. A paper on FLIP model was submitted to Non Linear Processes journal.
In Tasks 5.2 and 5.3 the state of the art of the predictions of current models and software tools relative to the effects on materials and people of the particle radiation accumulated during a mission to Mars and Moon have been analyzed. The DREAD code developed in Task 5.4 has shown its advantages in comparison with the SPENVIS tool in the conditions of the Moon and Mars missions.
In Task 5.4 the small-scale effects produced by solar wind on the Lunar surface has been studied. The work on this topic benefitted from an intense collaboration with the Lunar Science Institute in Boulder (LSI-Boulder) and with the Laboratoire Atmospheres, Milieux, Observations Spatiales (LATMOS) of the Universite de Versailles a Saint Quentin (prof. Lembege). The DREAD Code applicable to airless bodies of interest for future exploration missions to Asteroids, the Moon and other solar system bodies has been developed and tested. We have found that under average solar wind conditions this field can be strong enough to form a so-called mini-magnetosphere, shielding the surface underneath from the harsh solar wind plasma. Second, we have developed, in collaboration with ESA, the foundations of a comprehensive suite of near-surface plasma environment models applicable to airless bodies of interest for future exploration missions to Asteroids, the Moon and other solar system bodies. The effect of lunar dust was especially considered, in part as preparation for future missions of exploration where the dust is known to pose a significant danger or at least inconvenience for astronauts and technology. The results of Task 5.4 have been published on Physical Review Letters journal.
The particle environmental impacts on space-based instruments on LEO high-latitude orbits have been studied in Task T5.5. The partners in this task: LPI, SRC-PAS and ROB have collected the data on the impact of particle environment in the experiments SPIRIT on CORONAS-F, TESIS and SPHINX on CORONS-PHOTON, and SWAP and LYRA on PROBA2. Full operational version of database of particle environment on LEO orbits was prepared and made available at the website:
http://www.cbk.pan.wroc.pl/body/grants/eHEROES/DATABASE_OF_PARTICLE_ENVIRONMENT/. The main results of this task concern particle dynamics in South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) and radiation belts. Using the data obtained with the SPIRIT EUV telescope during the flight of CORONAS-F at solar maximum (2001-2005), it was found that the mean day rate of charged particle-produced spikes at solar maximum was ~200 times lower than that registered by CORONAS-Photon/TESIS during the period of solar minimum (2009). The spatial distribution of the spike rate during the period of anomalous solar activity in October - November 2003 differs from that predicted by SPENVIS due to enhancements produced by the events of spontaneous solar activity. The results were presented at the SPENVIS User Workshop (Brussels, May 2013). The unusual perturbations of the particle signal in the auroral regions has been investigated using the data obtained by the PROBA2/LYRA SXR-EUV channels. Strong particle fluxes in South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) were observed by all instruments used for this research. Comparison of the observations with the AE-8 and AP-8 maps, generated by the SPENVIS system, reveals that the observed position of SAA was shifted north-westward. All typical manifestations of space weather effects (including SEP events, geomagnetic storm effects) are clearly seen in the particle data of solar instruments on high-latitude orbits. These data provide an opportunity to study space weather conditions and their variability on different time and intensity scales using solar space instruments near Earth and in future orbital missions to other planets as well.
In Task 5.6 the absorption of solar EUV flux in the Earth’s high atmosphere (200 – 500 km) at high and low solar activity has been studied using the data SPIRIT, TESIS and PROBA 2 in the spectral bands 171-175-304 A for the periods of May 2002 (solar max), September 2009 (solar min) and December 2011(ascending solar activity). The extinction coefficients retrieved from the absorption height profiles were compared with those obtained from the old atmosphere model NRLMSISE-00 and the new European model DTM-2013. The last model has been developed on the base of the atmosphere drag measurements with sensitive accelerometers on CHAMP, GRACE and GOSE spacecraft. It was found that, whereas the NRLMSISE-00 model underestimates the densities of the main atmosphere constituents at heights 200 – 500 km during solar maximum and overestimates them during solar minimum, the DTM-2013 model gives values that agree well with the measured transmission profiles and the extinction coefficients retrieved from absorption profiles at high and low activity, in quiet and disturbed state of the atmosphere, within the accuracy of 20-30%. The results have been presented in the reports at European Space Weather Weak 10 meeting (Brussels, November 2013) and at 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, Moscow, August 2014 (report # C0.2-0009-14).
In Task 5.7 the iPic3D code, developed earlier at KULeuven, has been updated with the necessary tools to study the spacecraft-plasma interactions. The plasma environment for the Solar Probe Plus mission has been predicted and compared with the other simulation models.
The Most Significant results of WP5 include:
In Task 5.1 the model predictions were, as expected, more satisfactory for the forecasted solar wind speed at 1 AU than for the magnetic field. It should be recalled that static synoptic map assumption made with this PFSS extrapolated solar wind model seems to affect significantly the model performances. To improve the models, a new space mission has been proposed which included accurate constraints in terms of mass, control methods, communications, power supply, thermal balance and cost. This mission will be a significant step forward for the forecasting of eruptive solar events and their geoeffectiveness.
In Tasks 5.2 and 5.3 it was shown, that the new DREAD code developed for the Moon mission, gives comparable results with the SPENVIS tool also in the conditions of the Mars mission, that providing independent evaluation of the results obtained with the commonly used SPENVIS model. Also, in both cases it was stated that the ambient dose equivalent is better suitable for identifying the radiation field when the situation is not completely defined. The effective dose is a more accurate estimation and is more helpful in assessing radiation perils.
Task 5.4 is one of the most exciting examples of the great synergies between space weather research and more fundamental space science. The topics studied here uncover great new physics that is showcased by the leading international physics journal for new discoveries in physics but at the same time discuss a critical topic in space weather impact on space exploration: the impact of lunar anomalies and their mini magnetospheres on the radiation environment on the lunar surface. This is a topic of fundamental relevance to the survivability of Moon bases. The successes reported here are further confirmed by the fact that the space weather code iPic3D used to obtain them was selected for the pilot projects of the ESA-SSA Virtual Space Weather Modelling Center [Lapenta, G., Markidis, S., Poedts, S., & Vucinic, D. (2013). Space weather prediction and exascale computing. Computing in Science & Engineering, 15(5), 68-76; Poedts, S. (2014). The ESA Virtual Space Weather Modelling Centre--Phase 1. In 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Held 2-10 August 2014, in Moscow, Russia, Abstract PSW. 1-29-14. (Vol. 40, p. 2576)] and has been integrated in the USA Space Weather Modelling Framework [Daldorff, L. K., Tóth, G., Gombosi, T. I., Lapenta, G., Amaya, J., Markidis, S., & Brackbill, J. U. (2014). Two-way coupling of a global Hall magnetohydrodynamics model with a local implicit particle-in-cell model. Journal of Computational Physics, 268, 236-254].
In Task 5.5 the database of particle environment on LEO orbits created during this research contains particle fluxes measured in different solar activity phases – in descending phase of solar cycle and in very deep minimum between 23 and 24 solar cycles (Fig. 1). Of particular importance are the data from 2009 minimum because such a low activity period had never before been observed from space. An important result is that all partners found north-westward shift of SAA in comparison to its position obtained using AE-8 and Ap-8 models available through SPENVIS system. For LEO orbit, SAA is an area in which space missions undergo influence of the most intense fluxes of energetic particles. The shift between models and actual position of SAA may lead to inaccurate particle impact estimation, especially for missions on orbits passing frequently SAA.
In Task 5.6 it was demonstrated, that occultation measurements with the use of imaging solar EUV telescopes onboard the LEO satellites represent an efficient tool for monitoring of the upper Earth atmosphere between altitudes 200 – 500 km in different phases of solar activity and during the geomagnetic storm. Such measurements enable to test atmosphere density models in the global scale and locally with reasonable accuracy. Comparison of two atmosphere density models: NRLMSISE-00 and DTM-2013 with measurements has shown that the second model possess an evident advantage over the first one at different solar activity, in quiet and disturbed state of the magnetosphere (Fig. 2). The results are fully correspond to the aims of Task.
In summary, all objectives of WP5 Tasks declared in Annex 1 to the GA of eHEROES, have been successively achieved. All Deliverables have been prepared and submitted. The studies were carried out in close coordination of the participants of each task. For example, the work accomplished in the frame of the task 5.1 has run smoothly thanks to the strong cooperation between KULeuven and NOVELTIS and the WP leader’s contribution, support and suggestions all along the project. The resources were in line with the foreseen plan.
Bullets items list of the main achievements for eHeroes
WP2 - Value-added Data on Solar Sources
• New flare forecast methods have been developed by introducing a new proxy measure of the nonpotentiality, the inter-spot gradient of magnetic flux. Its tracking allows to identify specific patterns which have diagnostic importance for the prediction of the expected intensity and time of the imminent flare within the next 2-3 days.
• A new method for identifying and tracking the solar active longitudes revealed that besides the enhanced sunspot activity the level of flare activity is also higher in these longitudinal domains and both of them exhibit 1.3 year fluctuation. This allows to estimate the level of flare risk on a medium time scale.
• New methods for the accurate estimations of free energy and magnetic helicity in finite volumes were derived. Such quantities are the key actors in explaining the eruptivity of active regions and the generations of CMEs.
• Nonlinear force-free field extrapolation is the only available tool for reconstructing the 3D coronal magnetic field, which is based on observations of the photospheric magnetic field. For the first time, the results obtained by such techniques when applied to observations were related to the mathematical structure of the methods itself, opening the possibility for improvement of such an essential interpretative tool.
• The sensitivity of extrapolation codes to the resolution of the spectropolarimetric measurements used as boundary conditions was tested. The result is that, while it is true that extrapolation methods tend to improve their results with resolutions, sensitive quantities like magnetic helicity require a very high degree of accuracy in the observations.
• The conflicting conclusions reported in the literature on the efficiency of the fractal and multifractal parameter measurements of solar regions to distinguish them depending on the flaring activity were explained. It was shown that the estimates of complexity indicators are strictly dependent on the data set analyzed. Besides, it was shown that measurements of the fractal and multifractal parameters based on signed flux measurements of solar regions do not constitute a better predicting tool of the flare activity than derived by using unsigned flux data.
WP3 - Solar and Space Events and their Evolution
• Investigating post-eruptive coronal loops, we find that their growth rate is correlated to the early and intermediate CME kinematic evolution.
• A novel mechanism for CME initiation due to sunspot rotation was proposed and corroborated both observationally and via numerical MHD simulation.
• A new method for the estimation of helicity injection along individual field lines was developed and tested for the first time in the explanation of coronal field destabilization as the result of the interaction between flux systems of opposite helicity sign.
• The magnetic field structure of a circular flare ribbon was reconstructed, allowing for a novel interpretation of the multi-peaked time evolution of EUV flare light curves as the effect of cooling of different reconnection phases in a confined-eruption event.
• Observational evidence for magnetic reconnection at coronal heights during an unusually large and massive CME on 7 June 2011 was interpreted using a combination of topological analysis of the pre-eruption coronal magnetic field and a data-constrained MHD simulation of its evolution. Modelling confirmed that the large lateral expansion of the erupting magnetic flux rope fields dynamically activated pre-existing reconnection sites between the CME source region and neighbouring active regions.
• Within the previous study, a novel method for the estimation of the mass column density of cool absorbing filament material from EUV images was developed that is being applied successfully to several other eruptive solar filaments.
• Tracking a sample of CMEs in the inner heliosphere enabled to compare the CME observations with numerical and analytical solar wind models. From this we derived that CME kinematics are very sensitive on their environmental conditions (e.g. high speed solar wind streams, other CMEs).
• The CME forecast performance of the analytical drag based model (DBM) is found to be comparable to the numerical model ENLIL developed by NASA/CCMC.
• The temporal evolution of the magnetic helicity flux in a finite volume was derived. This result has relevance for using magnetic helicity as tracer of solar magnetic field evolution.
• Development of alternative data-driven inner heliosphere and CME evolution model EUHFORIA (the ‘European ENLIL’), based on GONG magnetogram data, PFSS coronal magnetic field expansion, WSA model (to 0.1 AU) and MHD (from 0.1 AU to 2 AU and beyond).
WP4 - Exploring Space in Time
• We studied the hemispheric asymmetry of the heliospheric magnetic field and showed that the asymmetry exists over very large radial distances from the inner to the outer heliosphere, and has a direct relation to the asymmetric evolution of solar coronal holes.
• We studied the performance of several methods to forecast the properties of solar cycle 24.
• We developed and employed two methods (least-squares and Bayesian inference) to find the optimum values of rotation parameters for a hemispherically asymmetric Sun. We studied the evolution of the solar rotation over 140 years and found a significant difference in rotation of sunspots in the two hemispheres.
• We found that solar rotation varies in time at a period of about 80-90 years, and there is anti-correlation between the rotation periods of the two solar hemispheres, which suggests a systematic interchange of angular momentum between the two hemispheres at this period.
• Both solar hemispheres were found to speed up their rotation in late 1990s, coinciding with the start of the weakening solar activity and the breakdown of long-held relations between several solar indices at the start of cycle 23.
• Based on the observed short- and long-term evolution of rotation parameters, we calculated probability maps of the spatial-temporal distribution of flares and sunspots both for the short-term (from a few days to a few months) and for the long-term (up to a few years until the end of cycle 24) future.
WP5 - Impact on space Exploration
• Study of the space environment around Lunar magnetic anomalies, regions of unusually high magnetic fields on the Moon
• Validation of the main spacecraft charging simulation tools in America, Europe and Japan and their application to the new space mission Solar Probe Plus
• Design of a multispacecraft space mission for the exploration of space weather
• Assessment of space weather-related risks for human flights to the Moon and Mars
WP6 - Dissemination
• Organization of an international school on space weather
• Hitchhikers' guide to space is a dynamic guide including online sun & space weather stories in English, images and movies explaining what there is to know about space weather and space.
• Space Weather News was spread through a weekly Newsletter, press releases and conferences, media events, interviews for journals, radio and television.
• PROBA2@school brings space and satellites into high school classrooms.
• The planeterrella experiment let people enjoy aurora at all times.
• At the annual European space weather week, the eHEROES organised serious and seriously fun activities: sessions, working meetings, battle of the solar titans-quiz, tour of space tutorial, live space weather forecast.
1 Expected final results and Impact of the project
The eventual goal of eHeroes is to allow the European Space Science and Engineering community to reach a deeper understanding some of the key aspects of the solar driving of space weather, with better modelling and better use of combined data source. The key processes targeted by eHeroes are: coronal heating, flares and eruptive regions, 3D structure of solar magnetic field above erup- tive regions, the variation of solar irradiance. eHeroes plans to understand how these processes affect the solar system. We are conducting data driven simulations of CME and of their consequences including in particular the high energy particles.
The key focus is on the forecasting tools and improving the time frame over which they are valid. A study of validation and improvements protocols for different forecasting methods for flares and CMEs has already been produced. The time horizon of eHeroes spans from days to years (one solar cycle, about 11 years): we think that understanding these trends and time frames is critical to future missions of exploration.
In fact the eventual goal is to deploy the new understanding that is developed by eHeroes on space weather and its variation in time to the evaluation of the impact on space exploration. eHeroes considers the Earth environment but its main thrust is to contribute to a successful and productive return to the Moon, and onward to Mars and other missions of human and robotic exploration. The main concern of eHeores is to understand how the plasma conditions and especially the high energy particles impact the functionality of instruments and the health of astronauts.
2 Dissemination Objectives
Space Weather affects a large variety of people, groups and human activities. It is our task to communicate about the relevance of space weather to all layers of the society.
We disseminate space weather information in general and the developments and scientific insights of the eHEROES project in particular. The latter indicates the direct link between the WP 'Dissemination' and the other WPs. The aim is to establish a science community who has gotten to know each other and combine the scientific, educational and informative efforts to reach communities outside the project, raise awareness and come to a possible involvement.
For our dissemination and communication activities, we answered the questions: what, to whom, why, when, how, by whom? The audience (to whom) is defined by its background, needs and interests. The key is to link the audience and your message (what) in a correct way. We have to provide correct and understandable information relevant (why) to a specific audience at the right time and appropriate time sequence (when). Tools and platforms facilitate the dissemination of space weather information. The messenger (by whom) has to be adapted to the level and has to ‘speak the language’ of the audience.
Dissemination and communication to a specific audience includes benefits. Making our insights and research publicly available incorporates a justification of the relevance of space weather. The general public represents the public opinion, which in turn influences political entities. Space weather importance for the non-professional and non-scientific public may increase when the need is created or grows because of a changing society. Interacting with the non-professionals with an interest in science can trigger an active involvement, e.g. citizen science projects. It is also in our benefit that undergraduate and PhD students are attracted. Strengthening the communication and interaction between scientists is another important pillar and is referred as community building. When there is a proven economic and commercial interest in space weather and space exploration, political entities will strengthen the environment and conditions for scientific performance.
We have different approaches and tactics: 1-way communication from experts with knowledge to an audience and with no interaction between the messenger and the audience, e.g. listening to the radio, 2-way communication allowing interaction and feedback and that reflects on the experience of the public, e.g. telephone conversation. The provided information can be static when it stays relevant over time or can change in a dynamic ways when the content needs to be updated. We adopted two ways of learning: formal and non-formal. Formal learning is usually done in a classroom with a textbook and an instructor. Non-formal learning comprehends a structured learning situation, however without having the level of a curriculum syllabus. Compare it with swimming sessions for toddlers or a workshop ‘make a rocket’.
We distinguish between communication within and outside the consortium. eHEROES members meet each other at the annual meetings, board meetings and meetings set up between the different WPs. The eHEROES wiki contains project information, reports and - links to - documents. Educative presentations used in WP6 for example, can be downloaded from the European Space Weather Portal repository.
For our communication outside the consortium we define the targeted audiences: the non-professional & non-scientific community, the non-professionals with a strong scientific interest, the group that seeks a high level scientific education, scientists, commercial and political entities.
We named 3 categories of information:
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to Space gives general information. The content is static as it was valid yesterday, is valid today and will be valid tomorrow. We refer to a travel guide: it gives information about the climate, but it doesn't give an update of the weather today or a weather forecast. This category involves a one way of communication: from the sender to the receiver and not in the other direction.
2. Space Weather News provides timely and dynamic information relevant at that particular moment. It is given on a daily, weekly, asap base and concerns a one-way type of communication with no direct feedback from the audience. The information is strongly digested according to the target group. Information provided through social media is per definition dynamic: information needs to be added on a regular basis otherwise you lose the interest of your audience.
3. The category Information and Education includes the development of tools and platforms used for informative, educational and community building purposes on one hand, and the organization of informative and educational activities and projects on the other hand. We look for direct contact with the audience with whom we go in dialogue: two direction communication. Social media, e.g. Facebook allows a two direction communication.
3 Dissemination Activities
The WP offers a frame, ideas and basic material within the 3 areas for dissemination to the target groups. We aim for passing our knowledge, inform, educate and come to a possible involvement of a target group.
D6.1 Documentation - Hitchhikers' guide to space is a series of online sun & space weather stories in English. The guide is dynamic in the sense that it gradually grew with a highlight a week including a descriptive text, images and movies. The stories are used to explain the concept Space Weather and its impact. The guide targets the non-professional with a strong scientific interest and the professional space and solar scientist looking for easy digestible (in reference to his/her higher education) background information other than the usual science papers. In both cases, we want to inform, raise awareness and come to a possible involvement in our project and science activities. The non-professional can e.g. participate in future crowd sourcing and citizen science projects that the eHEROES partners set up. This series of publications started in March 2012 with ‘LYRA: the alternative to GOES flare monitoring’. A notification email about a new contribution was sent through the mailing list of the STCE newsletter, i.e. a weekly digital newsletter (see D6.2 Space Weather News). Af the end of the project, the guide contained 132 contributions, accessible on http://www.stce.be/ , section 'News'.
D6.2 Space Weather News consists of a weekly English newsletter for scientists and non-professionals with an interest in science, press releases targeting the general public, the press and commercial entities who would benefit from space weather services, press conferences and oral interviews for written journals, radio and television.
The STCE Newsletter - Audience: scientists, non-professionals with an interest in science.
The STCE Newsletter is an online, English space weather bulletin, issued on a weekly basis. The newsletter gives an update of the solar, geomagnetic and ionospheric activity of the past week. The letter informs about the PROBA2 satellite measurements and performances, presents solar and space weather highlights and information about the space weather activities and conferences. Documents new on the European Space Weather Portal are highlighted. In this way, additional attention is given to eHEROES when a eHEROES document, e.g. media material used for a public lecture is uploaded to the repository. Announcements relevant for the broad space weather community are also possible to include. Interested people, scientists, students, users, etc. are invited by email to check the latest news. It is a tool to give more rumour to what space weather science, products, applications and events. The newsletters are kept in an online archive.
Press releases - Audience: press, general public.
Press releases were published in case of extreme space weather (14 in total), a special scientific event (5), e.g. 5 years PROBA2, Venus transit, or ‘Good to Know’ (4). In general, the press releases are translated in English, Dutch and French, published online and distributed by email to the national and international press if preferred. The last 2 categories are prepared before hand.
Media events - Audience: press and media
We organized in collaboration with ESA a press event for the inauguration of the ESA SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre (SSCC) on Wednesday, 3 April 2013. We invited only media to the press event: national, international, written, radio and television. The information about the SSCC was spread through an online press release to the general public.
Interviews - Audience: general public.
In response to the space weather events eHEROES members gave several interviews for paper and online journals.
D6.3 Information and Education includes the development of tools and platforms used for informative, educational and community building purposes on one hand, and the organization of informative and educational activities and projects on the other hand. We list the activities: organization of side events during the European Space Weather Week 9, 10 and 11 – tutorial, quiz, debate, bad conference practices movie, daily live space weather; organization of splinters and sessions on the level of content during ESWW 9, 10 and 11, development of the online educational support tool CLASSROOM, financial support for the Wall of Peace, series of lectures, the long term PROBA2@school project, activities during the open doors of the Space Pole, Belgium, the construction of an aurora-simulator: planeterrella, demonstrations with the planeterrella, publications in popular journals, science presentations at conferences, professional contacts with users of space weather services.
D6.4 Space Science Training Week: data driven modelling and forecasting - Audience: researchers new in the field, PhD students, post-doctoral researchers
We organised an intensive training in solar-terrestrial physics in September 16 - 19, 2013 in Leuven, Belgium. The school aimed to disseminate the topics, methods, and results of the eHEROES project among the young researchers just taking the first steps in space research. Around 40 people participated, ranging from master students to PhD students and young post-doctoral researchers. We distinguished from other schools through a hands-on training session in scientific proposal writing and do-and-don't tips for scientific presentations. The scientific program was enriched by a public evening lecture on the solar influence on our climate. The school was a co-organisation and could benefit in this way from its embedding within two international research network activities: an Inter-university Attraction Pole P7/08 CHARM connecting heliospheric to astrophysical communities with 7 partner institutes, and eHeroes with 15 different partner institutes.
D6.5 Project web page made sure that the information and documents relevant for the project members were accessible.
A detailed description of the developments and activities can be found in the reports on the deliverables D6.1 D6.2 D6.3 D6.4 and D6.5
3.2.2 In Summary
Our dissemination activities reached many people, in person or through digital and non-digital media, in groups or individually, and increased the space weather awareness. This can be concluded from the interactions with people during press events, presentations or during the open doors of the Space Pole. Several contacts led to the involvement or to the continuation of contacts, e.g. the Elcker-ik school in Antwerp, Belgium asked to give a course, this was in 2014. They requested a series of courses: In March 2015 – after the termination of eHEROES - we will give a second course.
A large number of activities aimed at the non-professionals were organised. These activities were local and national initiatives and not coordinated on a European level. Only CLASSROOM is not linked to a local initiative or institute and serves as an international pool for ideas and material.
Since ROB/STCE is strongly involved in the local and science organisation of the ESWW, it allowed eHEROES to organise and fully participate in dissemination activities. ESWW is a strong and profound platform for community building and offers the possibility to set up collaborations.
The eHEROES consortium definitely reached the goals of the work package Dissemination by having a clear communication plan, distinguishing between the audiences that have different interests, and applying the appropriate tools and tactics.
List of Websites:
Grant agreement ID: 284461
1 March 2012
28 February 2015
€ 2 523 910,56
€ 1 999 720,85
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 284461
1 March 2012
28 February 2015
€ 2 523 910,56
€ 1 999 720,85
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Grant agreement ID: 284461
1 March 2012
28 February 2015
€ 2 523 910,56
€ 1 999 720,85
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN