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Living With a Star

The Living With a Star (LWS) program emphasizes the science necessary to understand those aspects of the Sun and the Earth's space environment that affect life and society. The ultimate goal is to provide a predictive understanding of the system, and specifically of the space weather conditions at Earth and in the interplanetary medium.

LWS missions have been formulated to answer specific science questions needed to understand the linkages among the interconnected systems that impact us. LWS products impact technology associated with space systems, communications and navigation, and ground systems such as power grids.The coordinated LWS program includes strategic missions, targeted research and technology development, a space environment test bed flight opportunity, and partnerships with other agencies and nations.


Living With a Star is a cross-cutting program whose goals and objectives have the following links:

  1. Space Science: LWS quantifies the physics, dynamics, and behavior of the Sun-Earth system over the 11-year solar cycle.
  2. Earth Science: LWS improves understanding of the effects of solar variability and disturbances on terrestrial climate change.
  3. Human Exploration and Development: LWS provides data and scientific understanding required for advanced warning of energetic particle events that affect the safety of humans.
  4. Aeronautics and Space Transportation: LWS provides detailed characterization of radiation environments useful in the design of more reliable electronic components for air and space transportation systems.

Related Programs

*Sort missions by clicking the column headers.

DivisionNameLaunch DatePhase
Heliophysics BARREL
The Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses mission is a balloon-based Mission of Opportunity to augment the measurements of NASA's RBSP spacecraft. This mission is part of SMD's LWS program.
Heliophysics Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is the first mission and crown jewel in a fleet of NASA missions to study our sun. The mission is the cornerstone of a NASA science program called Living With a Star (LWS). The goal ...
20100211 February 11, 2010 3Operating
Heliophysics Solar Orbiter
Solar Orbiter is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the Sun from a distance closer than any spacecraft previously has, and will provide images and measurements in unprecedented resolution and detail. This mission is part of SMD's LWS ...
1Under Study
Heliophysics Solar Probe Plus
Solar Probe Plus will be a historic mission, flying into one of the last unexplored regions of the solar system, the Sun’s atmosphere or corona, for the first time. This mission is part of SMD's LWS Program.
1Under Study
Heliophysics Space Environment Testbeds
The Space Environment Testbeds (SET) Project performs flight and ground investigations to understand how the Sun/Earth interactions affect humanity.
20140101 January 2014 2Development