Meet IMAP, NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (image) Princeton University Share Print E-Mail Caption Princeton astrophysicist David McComas will be the principal investigator for IMAP, a $492 million science mission to sample, analyze and map particles from the sun and from the edges of interstellar space. Slated to launch in 2024, the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe mission will investigate the heliosphere, which surrounds and protects our solar system. IMAP is a rotating satellite about the size and shape of a toddler merry-go-round, 6.5 feet in diameter and 2 feet tall (roughly 200 cm x 70 cm). All of the science instruments will run continuously as it rotates in space four times per minute. The 10 instruments on IMAP are "high-heritage, flight-proven" tools, meaning that they are very similar to instruments used successfully on one or more prior missions. Three of the instruments -- IMAP-Lo, IMAP-Hi and IMAP-Ultra -- will use energetic neutral atoms to "see" particles from the invisible heliosphere and beyond. The sensors will be calibrated in the same facilities as similar instruments from previous missions, allowing IMAP to build from the dataset that has been accumulating since 2008. The three IMAP instruments have higher resolution and many times the collection power of the previous missions (on average, 15 times, 25 times and 35 times, respectively, for the three instruments). Five instruments -- CoDICE, HIT, MAG, SWAPI and SWE -- will measure different components of the solar wind and energetic particles that will allow the detailed understanding of particle acceleration, as well as providing real-time data about the space weather heading toward Earth. The other two instruments, IDEX and GLOWS, will look at interstellar dust and ultraviolet radiation. Credit Courtesy of the IMAP team Usage Restrictions Editorial Use Only Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.