Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Solar-Terrestrial Research: Report of a Workshop

Status Report From: National Academy of Sciences
Posted: Friday, April 14, 2006


Ad Hoc Committee on Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Research and Monitoring in Solar-Terrestrial Physics: A Workshop, National Research Council

Full report


Among the programs recommended in the National Research Council's (NRC's) first decadal survey in solar and space physics was the Small Instrument Distributed Ground-Based Network, which the survey report described as an "NSF program to provide global-scale ionospheric and upper atmospheric measurements for input to global physics-based models." The survey report noted that this concept would "combine state-of-the-art instrumentation with real-time communications technology to provide both broad coverage and fine-scale spatial and temporal resolution of upper atmospheric processes crucial to understanding the coupled AIM [atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere] system" (p. 61). This concept was endorsed in the report from the decadal survey's Panel on Atmosphere- Ionosphere-Magnetosphere Interactions, which advised that the National Science Foundation (NSF) ". . . begin an aggressive program to field hundreds of small automated instrument clusters to allow mapping the state of the global [atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere] system."

In response to a request from the NSF, an ad hoc NRC committee was formed under the auspices of the Space Studies Board's Committee on Solar and Space Physics to explore, via a community-based workshop, the scientific rationale, infrastructure needs, and issues related to implementation of what has become known as DASI?distributed arrays of small instruments. The statement of task is given in Appendix A. Participating in the June 2004 workshop held at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, were representatives of the thermosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere, and solar-heliosphere research communities. In addition, agency representatives from NSF, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Office of Naval Research attended and addressed the relevance of distributed instruments in their future program plans. The workshop agenda and a list of participants are presented in Appendix B. The Ad Hoc Committee on Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Research and Monitoring in Solar-Terrestrial Physics: A Workshop wishes to thank committee member John Foster for his leadership in organizing the workshop and the production of the workshop report that is presented here. As specified in the committee's statement of task (see Appendix A), this report summarizes the discussions at the workshop and does not present any consensus findings or recommendations.

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