A team led by the Naval Research Laboratory(NRL) has recently proposed the Wide-field Imager for Solar PRobe (WISPR) in response to the 2010 NASA Solar Probe Plus Announcement of Opportunity (AO). If selected, WISPR will launch by 2018 and image inner coronal plasma with unprecedented spatial resolution, cadence, and sensitivity. Building upon the SECCHI Heliospheric Imager (HI) currently flying aboard the STEREO mission, WISPR will address all four key objectives in the AO for Solar Probe Plus (SPP): (i) Determine the structure and dynamics of the magnetic fields at the sources of the fast and slow solar wind; (ii) Trace the flow of energy that heats the solar corona and accelerates the solar wind; (iii) Explore the mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles; (iv) Explore dusty plasma phenomena in the near-Sun environment and their influence on the solar wind and energetic particle formation. The WISPR investigation supports the ultimate goal of obtaining a predictive capability for the combined sun earth system.
Under contract to the NRL, our staff provided scientific and engineering technical services to respond to the evolving needs of the concept and mission definition phase and to address new technologies needed to support the mission.
On September 2, 2010, NASA announced that WISPR was selected for the SPP mission. Additional information is contained in the NASA press release.