The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission will use a solar telescope and spectrograph to explore the solar chromospheres. This is a crucial region for understanding energy transport into the solar wind and an archetype for stellar atmospheres. Recent discoveries have shown the chromosphere is significantly more dynamic and structured than previously thought. The unique instrument capabilities, coupled with state of the art 3-D modeling, will explore this dynamic region in detail. The mission will greatly extend the scientific output of existing heliophysics spacecraft that follow the effects of energy release processes from the sun to Earth. Alan M. Title, from Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, Calif., is the IRIS principal investigator.
Ames will manage mission operations, flight operations and ground systems activities, and provide support for spacecraft systems engineering, flight dynamics, integration and testing. Ames’ Multi-Mission Operations Center facility will be used for mission control. Ames also will manage education and public outreach activities.
IRIS is expected to be launched in December 2012.