IMAP-Lo is a single-pixel neutral atom imager that delivers energy and position measurements of low-energy Interstellar Neutral (ISN) atoms tracked over the ecliptic longitude >180° and global maps of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs). Mounted on a pivot platform, IMAP-Lo tracks the flow of these ions through the local interstellar medium (LISM) to precisely determine the species-dependent flow speed, temperature, and direction of the LISM that surrounds, interacts with, and determines the outer boundaries of the global heliosphere. IMAP-Lo uses the pivoting field of view (FOV) to view variable angles out to 90° from the spin axis. This assists IMAP-Lo to pinpoint the intersection between the ISN inflow speed and longitude to uniquely determine the LISM flow vector. Data from IMAP-Lo will help us be able to see from inside the heliosphere what it is like just outside the solar system, our local neighborhood.
The reduced interference of the Earth’s magnetosphere at IMAP’s Lagrange Point 1(L1) location, paired with the pivoting FOV, improves the amount of ISN atoms collected and allows for tracking the speed and direction of the ISN flow for most of an entire year.
IMAP-Lo design and assembly is led by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in collaboration with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and University of Bern (UBe).