Artist's rendering of IMAP spacecraft

Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP)

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Studying the Edge of the Solar Wind

Set to launch in 2025, NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission will help researchers better understand what happens at the boundary of the heliosphere, where the Sun’s protective magnetic field ends. This boundary is where the solar wind collides with materials from interstellar space; these collisions protect our solar system from much of the hazardous cosmic radiation, and IMAP will study the particles that get through that protective shield. Designed, built, and operated by APL, IMAP will be positioned about one million miles from Earth (at what is called the first Lagrange point, or L1). Data from the mission will help to reveal how cosmic rays are filtered by the heliosphere, which will shed light on a number of research fields, from risks to astronaut health and space technology to the beginnings of life in the universe.

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