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Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP): A New NASA Mission

McComas, D. J. and Cohen, C. M. S. and Leske, R. A. (2018) Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP): A New NASA Mission. Space Science Reviews, 214 (12). Art. No. 116. ISSN 0038-6308. doi:10.1007/s11214-018-0550-1.

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The Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) is a revolutionary mission that simultaneously investigates two of the most important overarching issues in Heliophysics today: the acceleration of energetic particles and interaction of the solar wind with the local interstellar medium. While seemingly disparate, these are intimately coupled because particles accelerated in the inner heliosphere play critical roles in the outer heliospheric interaction. Selected by NASA in 2018, IMAP is planned to launch in 2024. The IMAP spacecraft is a simple sun-pointed spinner in orbit about the Sun-Earth L1 point. IMAP’s ten instruments provide a complete and synergistic set of observations to simultaneously dissect the particle injection and acceleration processes at 1 AU while remotely probing the global heliospheric interaction and its response to particle populations generated by these processes. In situ at 1 AU, IMAP provides detailed observations of solar wind electrons and ions; suprathermal, pickup, and energetic ions; and the interplanetary magnetic field. For the outer heliosphere interaction, IMAP provides advanced global observations of the remote plasma and energetic ions over a broad energy range via energetic neutral atom imaging, and precise observations of interstellar neutral atoms penetrating the heliosphere. Complementary observations of interstellar dust and the ultraviolet glow of interstellar neutrals further deepen the physical understanding from IMAP. IMAP also continuously broadcasts vital real-time space weather observations. Finally, IMAP engages the broader Heliophysics community through a variety of innovative opportunities. This paper summarizes the IMAP mission at the start of Phase A development.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
McComas, D. J.0000-0001-6160-1158
Cohen, C. M. S.0000-0002-0978-8127
Leske, R. A.0000-0002-0156-2414
Additional Information:© 2018 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Received: 11 September 2018; Accepted: 5 October 2018; First Online: 22 October 2018. We are deeply indebted to all the other outstanding IMAP team members at all of our institutions that supported our proposal and continue to support development of this revolutionary mission. We also thank NASA and their review teams for their careful evaluation of our proposal in response to AO NNH17ZDA007O, as well as supporting the publication of this paper.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Heliosphere; Interstellar medium; IBEX; IMAP; ENA; Energetic particle
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181023-130433363
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Official Citation:McComas, D.J., Christian, E.R., Schwadron, N.A. et al. Space Sci Rev (2018) 214: 116.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90369
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Oct 2018 21:49
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:32

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