Research Topic

New Challenges in Space Plasma Physics: Open Questions and Future Mission Concepts

About this Research Topic

For more than half a century, scientific space missions have provided the experimental underpinning for advances in space plasma physics. In-situ and remote observations have revealed an incredible variety of processes throughout the heliosphere and beyond, including the solar corona, solar wind, planetary magnetospheres, and local interstellar medium. These range from large-scale and transient heliospheric structures to common plasma processes, such as turbulence, instabilities, particle acceleration, reconnection, waves, shocks, dissipation. These phenomena have been widely studied but remain to be fully understood, both in their fundamental nature and in the role that they play in our heliosphere.

Each new mission so far has answered many questions and changed our perspective, driving forward our understanding of space plasmas, but has also given rise to many new questions about how our solar system works. Recent examples are the NASA missions MMS and Parker Solar Probe; the variety of new phenomena discovered and their complex nature has stimulated much interest and activity within the community while raising new fundamental questions about space plasmas. While awaiting new insights from the recently launched ESA spacecraft Solar Orbiter and Bepi Colombo, many in the community are working on innovative concepts for future space missions, both in response to theoretical and numerical advances and also in light of the most recent observations. Recently, the European Space Agency launched its long-term planning exercise, Voyage 2050, with a call for white papers. In the USA, the NASA/NSF/NOAA Heliophysics 2050 exercise is taking place to examine the long-term goals for the community.

This Research Topic, open for submissions in both Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences and Frontiers in Physics, aims at collecting innovative ideas, white papers and recent results suggesting the need for innovative space measurements. These should be presented as Perspective, Review, Mini Review, Methods, Specialty Grand Challenge, Technology and Code, Brief Research Report, Opinion or Original Research papers, demonstrating the current and future open challenges in space plasma physics, and the proposed approaches to address them.


Keywords: Space plasmas, Heliosphere, Space missions, Experimental space plasmas, Challenges


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

For more than half a century, scientific space missions have provided the experimental underpinning for advances in space plasma physics. In-situ and remote observations have revealed an incredible variety of processes throughout the heliosphere and beyond, including the solar corona, solar wind, planetary magnetospheres, and local interstellar medium. These range from large-scale and transient heliospheric structures to common plasma processes, such as turbulence, instabilities, particle acceleration, reconnection, waves, shocks, dissipation. These phenomena have been widely studied but remain to be fully understood, both in their fundamental nature and in the role that they play in our heliosphere.

Each new mission so far has answered many questions and changed our perspective, driving forward our understanding of space plasmas, but has also given rise to many new questions about how our solar system works. Recent examples are the NASA missions MMS and Parker Solar Probe; the variety of new phenomena discovered and their complex nature has stimulated much interest and activity within the community while raising new fundamental questions about space plasmas. While awaiting new insights from the recently launched ESA spacecraft Solar Orbiter and Bepi Colombo, many in the community are working on innovative concepts for future space missions, both in response to theoretical and numerical advances and also in light of the most recent observations. Recently, the European Space Agency launched its long-term planning exercise, Voyage 2050, with a call for white papers. In the USA, the NASA/NSF/NOAA Heliophysics 2050 exercise is taking place to examine the long-term goals for the community.

This Research Topic, open for submissions in both Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences and Frontiers in Physics, aims at collecting innovative ideas, white papers and recent results suggesting the need for innovative space measurements. These should be presented as Perspective, Review, Mini Review, Methods, Specialty Grand Challenge, Technology and Code, Brief Research Report, Opinion or Original Research papers, demonstrating the current and future open challenges in space plasma physics, and the proposed approaches to address them.


Keywords: Space plasmas, Heliosphere, Space missions, Experimental space plasmas, Challenges


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

21 June 2020 Abstract
19 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

21 June 2020 Abstract
19 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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