|Author||National Research Council|
The sun is the source of energy for life on earth and is the strongest modulator of the human physical environment. In fact, the Sunâ€™s influence extends throughout the solar system, both through photons, which provide heat, light, and ionization, and through the continuous outflow of a magnetized, supersonic ionized gas known as the solar wind.
While the accomplishments of the past decade have answered important questions about the physics of the Sun, the interplanetary medium, and the space environments of Earth and other solar system bodies, they have also highlighted other questions, some of which are long-standing and fundamental. The Sun to the Earthâ€"and Beyond organizes these questions in terms of five challenges that are expected to be the focus of scientific investigations in solar and space physics during the coming decade and beyond.