The Sun, its wind, and the edge of the solar system

Scientists at APL take high-resolution measurements of the Sun’s magnetic field, use spectroscopy to study the chemical makeup of the Sun’s upper atmosphere, and uncover the physics of energetic phenomena on the Sun and in the solar wind, such coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar flares. Our researchers use spacecraft, ground-based observations and simulation tools to understand the fundamental physics of the Sun, the heliosphere, and the drivers of space weather and long-term space climate. APL is at the forefront of building and operating spacecraft missions that provide unique insights into unexplored frontiers of space, including NASA’s STEREO, Van Allen Probes and Parker Solar Probe missions. Most recently, APL was selected to build and operate NASA’s IMAP mission, which will make measurements of the Sun’s supersonic solar wind and capture details of its “echo” when the wind reaches the edge of the solar system’s protective heliosphere and enters interstellar space.


APL has designed, built and operated more than 70 innovative spacecraft over its six decades of spaceflight experience. Click below to learn about some of the missions that made revolutionary discoveries, and spacecraft that will push the boundaries of exploration and investigate outstanding scientific mysteries.


Scientists and engineers at APL have designed, built and operated more than 300 novel space instruments and methods to conduct cutting-edge research and make groundbreaking discoveries. Click below to learn about some of these instruments and their role in shaping our understanding of space and the solar system.


Go inside APL’s space missions and research, and check out the latest news, features and discoveries from the teams that are probing mysteries from the Sun to the edge of the solar system and beyond.