Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 14:04 EDT
IRIS Preps for Launch
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IRIS Preps for Launch

July 22, 2013
The fully integrated spacecraft and science instrument for NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission is seen in a clean room at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Sunnyvale, Calif. facility. The solar arrays are deployed in the configuration they will assume when in orbit. IRIS is scheduled to launch on June 26, 2013. Understanding the interface between the photosphere and corona remains a fundamental challenge in solar and heliospheric science. The IRIS mission opens a window of discovery into this crucial region by tracing the flow of energy and plasma through the chromosphere and transition region into the corona using spectrometry and imaging. IRIS is designed to provide significant new information to increase our understanding of energy transport into the corona and solar wind and provide an archetype for all stellar atmospheres. The unique instrument capabilities, coupled with state of the art 3-D modeling, will fill a large gap in our knowledge of this dynamic region of the solar atmosphere. The mission will extend the scientific output of existing heliophysics spacecraft that follow the effects of energy release processes from the sun to Earth. Image Credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin