Published: 2. June 2016 by: Kolbjørn Blix

CEDAR email: CEDAR/GEM workshop: Grand Challenge Initiative — Cusp


“Grand Challenge Initiative — Cusp” Community Engagement Workshop (original post by Astrid Maute <>)

Tuesday, June 21, 1:30-3:30 PM
Workshop conveners: Jøran Moen, U Oslo, Kolbjorn Blix (Norway / ASC), Doug Rowland, NASA GSFC

This workshop is designed to maximize community involvement and engagement in a new multinational effort, called the “Grand Challenge Initiative — Cusp”.  This initiative is an effort to leverage existing investments and previously selected missions on behalf of the wider scientific community. It is designed to provide an in-depth examination of the Earth’s magnetic cusps, particularly cusp electrodynamics, M-I coupling, and I-T response and dynamics.

So far, the Grand Challenge is comprised of five sounding rocket missions:

  • TRICE-2 (USA / NASA — PI: Craig Kletzing) — studying the dynamics of magnetic reconnection in the cusp, and determining the extent of spatial patchiness vs. temporal burstiness
  • VISIONS-2 (USA / NASA — PI: Doug Rowland) — studying ion outflow in the cusp
  • ICI-5 (Norway, PI: Jøran Moen)  — studying the generation of ionospheric irregularities in strong shear flows in the cusp
  • SS-530-3 (Japan / JAXA, PI: Takumi Abe)  — ion outflow in the cusp
  • G-CHASER (multinational, lead: Norway)  — university student rocket (hoping to recruit interested universities to provide student payloads)

There are opportunities for additional rocket missions, potentially Japanese, Swedish, German, or additional USA involvement.

In addition to the sounding rocket missions, we are hoping to leverage the excellent capabilities of the EISCAT and CUTLASS radars, as well as multiple ground-based optical sites (Kjell Henriksen Observatory among others).
We hope this workshop will stimulate discussion amongst the GEM and CEDAR community about other potential efforts which could leverage this large multinational investment, and work together to dramatically improve our understanding of cusp dynamics.

This could include complementary space-based observations, ground-based observations, theory, or modeling efforts. A website for this initiative, which includes the latest version of the workshop agenda is located at:

Potential collaborators who may wish to share their ideas on participation should email a single power point slide outlining their ideas to Doug Rowland ( and we will add you to the agenda. Of particular interest may be the G-CHASER mission concept, which is designed to provide a unique and exciting platform for student-led experiments in support of the Grand Challenge effort.

G-CHASER is still actively recruiting university partners for this effort, led by Kolbjorn Blix of ASC.

Doug Rowland, Jøran Moen, Kolbjorn Blix / workshop conveners