VIA-SEES Satellite

Spacecraft VIA-SEEs (Variability In Atmosphere from Solar Energetic Electron Study)
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status not launched, expected in 2025
Launcher not launched
Organization University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Country US

Establishing a direct correlation between Solar Radiation Events (SREs) and Variability in Atmospheric gases, specifically Nitric and Nitrous Oxide, as well as Ozone.


Aid in understanding Earth’s atmospheric response to auroral, radiation belt, and solar energetic particles and the associated effect on ozone and nitrous oxides in the ozone layer (see Fig. 3 for more details). Slow solar wind travels at speeds between 300 to 800 km/s, with particles arriving at Earth in about 2-3 days. In a solar flare, particles are accelerated to relativistic velocities, arriving at Earth in about 10 minutes. Electrons traveling at these energy levels will cause Energetic Electron Precipitation (EEP), a phenomenon which causes the dissociation of molecules in our atmosphere. Over time, these dissociations can catalyze the destruction of the ozone layer and have impactful effects on the Earth’s climate.

The primary science objective of the VIA-SEES mission is to determine baseline levels of atmospheric ozone in non-SEP intervals and the size of ozone depletions before, during, and after solar energetic particle events. This will be done by measuring a direct correlation between flux in Solar Energetic Electrons (SEEs) and the variability in total reactive nitrous oxides and ozone concentration in the ozone layer.

To date there has not been an Earth-observing mission that has integrated simultaneous measurements of solar energetic particles (SEPs) and stratospheric nitrous oxide and ozone using one spacecraft. Hence, near real-time correlated measurements of solar radiation and upper atmospheric gases would provide means to discover the existence and extent of gas depletion based on radiation. The VIA-SEES mission will utilize one 3U CubeSat in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to capture this unique set of data during the next Solar Maximum, in July of 2025.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3]

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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