In the first step of a two-step process, NASA has selected
two teams to conduct concept studies for the Magnetospheric
Multiscale (MMS) Mission, the fourth investigation in NASA’s
Solar Terrestrial Probe mission line.

The proposals selected for further study address the scientific
objective of the MMS mission, to explore and understand
fundamental plasma-physics processes of magnetic reconnection,
particle acceleration and turbulence in the Earth’s
magnetosphere. These three processes, which control the flow of
energy, mass and momentum, within and across magnetospheric
boundaries, occur throughout the universe and are fundamental
to our understanding of astrophysical and solar system plasmas.

The selected proposals that will provide instrument suites
dedicated to the pursuit of the MMS science objectives are:

* “An Instrument Suite for the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale
Mission,” led by Dr. James P. McFadden of the University of
California at Berkeley; and

* “Solving Magnetospheric Acceleration, Reconnection, and
Turbulence,” led by Dr. James L. Burch of Southwest Research
Institute, San Antonio.

“The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission will help us understand
the fundamental physical processes responsible for transfer of
energy from the solar wind to the Earth’s magnetosphere,” said
Dick Fisher, Director of the Sun-Earth Connection Division in
NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington.

“What we learn from MMS will have application far beyond the
Earth, because the Earth’s magnetosphere provides the only
laboratory in which fundamental astrophysical plasma processes
are readily accessible for sustained study. MMS results will
directly contribute to NASA’s mission to advance our scientific
knowledge and understanding of Earth, the solar system and the
universe,” Fisher explained.

The selected proposals, which were submitted to NASA in March
2003 in response to the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission
Announcement of Opportunity, were both judged to have high
scientific and technical merit. Each will receive $1 million to
conduct a six-month implementation-feasibility study focused on
cost, management and technical plans, including educational
outreach and small business involvement.

The Solar Terrestrial Probe (STP) Program is a sequence of
community-defined strategic projects that provide in-situ and
remote sensing observations, from multiple platforms, for
sustained study of the Sun-Earth system. The first STP, the
Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics
mission was launched December 7, 2001. The next two missions in
the STP program, Solar-B and the Solar Terrestrial Relations
Observatory, are scheduled for launch in 2006 and 2005

The STP Program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md., for the Sun-Earth Connection Division
of the Office of Space Science, Washington.

For more information on NASA and NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probe
program, visit: