Letter: The Preferred Term Is ‘Heliophysicists’

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I read with great interest your informative article titled “Solar Orbiter Mission Burned by Rising Launch Costs” [March 14, page 14].

You included a good summary of the upcoming missions in the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. However, you misrepresented the very able and innovative science community by labeling them “sun scientists.”

The heliophysics community is much broader than those who study the sun, as your label might suggest. This discipline includes those studying the complex interaction and connectedness of the sun and our planet Earth (beginning with its interface with space about 80 kilometers altitude), and those investigating how mass and energy are transported throughout the solar system and the interaction with intergalactic space.

In conclusion, I would use the term “heliophysicists” instead of “sun scientists.”

 

James Spann

Huntsville
, Ala.