EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

HelioSwarm: The Nature of Turbulence in Space Plasmas

Harlan Spence1, Kristopher Klein2, and HelioSwarm Science Team
Harlan Spence et al.
  • 1University of New Hampshire, Morse Hall, Room 306, Durham, United States of America (
  • 2University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson, Arizona, United States of America (

Recently selected for phase A study for NASA’s Heliophysics MidEx Announcement of Opportunity, the HelioSwarm Observatory proposes to transform our understanding of the physics of turbulence in space and astrophysical plasmas by deploying nine spacecraft to measure the local plasma and magnetic field conditions at many points, with separations between the spacecraft spanning MHD and ion scales.  HelioSwarm resolves the transfer and dissipation of turbulent energy in weakly-collisional magnetized plasmas with a novel configuration of spacecraft in the solar wind. These simultaneous multi-point, multi-scale measurements of space plasmas allow us to reach closure on two science goals comprised of six science objectives: (1) reveal how turbulent energy is transferred in the most probable, undisturbed solar wind plasma and distributed as a function of scale and time; (2) reveal how this turbulent cascade of energy varies with the background magnetic field and plasma parameters in more extreme solar wind environments; (3) quantify the transfer of turbulent energy between fields, flows, and ion heat; (4) identify thermodynamic impacts of intermittent structures on ion distributions; (5) determine how solar wind turbulence affects and is affected by large-scale solar wind structures; and (6) determine how strongly driven turbulence differs from that in the undisturbed solar wind. 

How to cite: Spence, H., Klein, K., and Science Team, H.: HelioSwarm: The Nature of Turbulence in Space Plasmas, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12092,, 2021.

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