Dr. Eric R. Christian
NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 672
Energetic Particle Laboratory
8800 Greenbelt Rd.
Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA
(301) 286-2919 FAX: (301) 286-7194
Eric Christian's Home Page
My current position is Senior Research Scientist and Associate Lab Chief at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Code 672, the Heliospheric Physics Laboratory in the Heliophysics Science Division. I am also the head of the Energetic Particle Laboratory.
My scientific interests are the origin of energetic particles (galactic cosmic rays, anomalous cosmic rays, solar energetic particles, and energetic neutral atoms) and the design, construction, integration and test, and data analysis of particle detectors. I have also been active in NASA communications, outreach, and public affairs through his career.
I am an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Physics Department at Washington University in St. Louis working with the Laboratory for EXperimental Astrophysics (LEXAS)
I am working on the following Missions and Projects:
(Advanced Composition Explorer)|
is a spacecraft that was launched in August 1997 on a Delta rocket from Kennedy Space Flight Center. It is orbiting the Earth-Sun Libration point (L1) looking at charged particles from solar wind energies (100 eV) up to galactic cosmic rays (500 MeV/nucleon). I am Deputy Project Scientist for ACE and an Instrument Scientist on both the Cosmic Ray Isotope Spectrometer (CRIS) and Solar Isotope Spectrometer (SIS) instruments.
|CeREs (a Compact Radiation belt Explorer)|
CeREs is a 3U cubesat that is due to launch this year. It will examine the radiation belt and how electrons are energized and lost, particularly during events called microbursts — when sudden swarms of electrons stream into the atmosphere. I am a Co-Investigator on CeREs.
|CuSP (a Cubesat mission to study Solar Particles)|
CuSP is a 6U cubesat with three instruments that is one of thirteen cubesats that will be launched on the SLS EM-1 mission. Its science goal is to understand how suprathermal particles vary with time and location. The three instruments are SIS (Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph) from Southwest Research Institute, a magnetometer from JPL, and MERIT, an energetic particle telescope from Goddard. I am the Goddard lead Co-Investigator.
|IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer)|
IBEX is a SMEX (small explorer) that launched on October 19, 2008. It's purpose is to use Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENAs) to image and understand the interactions between the solar wind and the interstellar medium. I am the Mission Scientist for the IBEX mission.
|IMAP (Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe)|
IMAP is a new mission that has just been selected by NASA. It is a single spacecraft that will launch in 2024 and orbit the L1 Lagrange point, a million miles closer to the Sun than the Earth. IMAP simultaneously investigates two of the most important issues in Heliophysics today - the acceleration of energetic particles and the interaction of the solar wind with the local interstellar medium. I am Deputy Principal Investigator for the entire mission.
|PSP (Parker Solar Probe)|
will be our first mission to the Sun. With a launch in 2018, SPP will use multiple Venus flybys to bring its perihelion down to 9.5 solar radii (less than 7 million kilometers or about 4 million miles). Its goal is to understand the heating of the corona, the acceleration of the solar wind, and the acceleration of solar energetic particles. I am the Deputy PI for the ISIS (Integrated Science Investigations of the Sun) instrument suite which consists of two energetic particle instruments (low energy: EPI-Lo and high energy: EPI-Hi). My primary focus is the design and construction of the EPI-Hi instrument.
|STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory)|
is a mission that uses two nearly identical spacecraft to give us a multifaceted view of the Sun. The prime goal is the understanding of the fundamental nature and origin of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), the most energetic eruptions on the Sun and the primary cause of major geomagnetic storms. Stereo launched in October 2006, and although the two spacecraft are at about 1 AU, they have been moving away from the Earth at approximately 22.5 degrees per year. STEREO Behind is not currently communicating with the Earth, but STEREO Ahead is still working well.