Near-Earth Space Sensing Group

Image from NASA ISS

What is Space Physics?

Space physics is the study of the near space environments to planets. In our solar system, this includes the sun, particles and radiation from the sun, the solar wind and its interaction with planets and planetary magnetospheres, and upper planetary atmospheres that are influenced by both the sun and properties of the planet itself. Space physics aids in space weather prediction on Earth. Studies of space physics in our own solar system can also provide a window into understanding atmospheres and habitability of other planets beyond our solar system.

What does the Near Earth Space Sensing (NESS) group study?

In the Near Earth Space Sensing group, we study terrestrial influences on space weather, atmospheric dynamics, airglow, and waves. Day to day variability in the thermosphere is important for understanding and predicting satellite orbit patterns and the orbital paths of space debris. Fluctuations in densities and winds can have significant influences on orbits in this region. Perturbations in the ionosphere can also impact communications. The Near Earth Space Dynamics group works with a variety of large data sets and remote sensing instruments to better understand variability in this region of space.