Research programme for solar system physics and space technology

Within the Solar System Physics and Space Technology research programme, we study the solar wind’s interaction with various celestial bodies in the Solar System.

The solar wind is a flow of charged particles from the sun. We want to understand how planets (including the Earth), comets, moons and asteroids interact with the space environment. In order to perform this research, we develop instruments for satellite-based measurements, which constitute a significant part of the programme’s activities.

The instruments measure the fluxes of particles: ions, electrons and energetic neutral atoms (ENA).

All stages of instrument development are carried out within the programme, from design, manufacture and calibration to operation of the instruments. In our research and instrument development, we collaborate with a large number of research groups in many countries.

The programme has developed instruments that have recently made measurements at a comet and at Venus, and are making measurements at Mars. We have built instruments that during 2018 was sent to Merkurius and to the Moon. In April 2023, instruments that we have developed were sent to Jupiter and three of its icy moons.

We are also working to develop SpaceLab, a facility for testing and calibrating space instrument.

Personnel in the Solar System Physics and Space Technology research programme work at IRF in Kiruna.

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