A growing number of space scientists believe that experimental investigation of plasma and electricity in a vacuum could advance scientific understanding of many solar system phenomena. This includes the electrical/plasma connection of the Sun to its planetary satellites and galactic neighbors. Of particular interest are the unsolved solar mysteries: acceleration of the solar wind out past the planets, heating of the corona, sunspot cycles in relation to the heliospheric environment, coronal mass ejections, enigmatic super-rotation of the equatorial atmosphere, and intense polar jets.
Recent space observations have confirmed dynamic interactions between the Sun’s domain and the surrounding interstellar medium but concrete scientific initiatives have lagged behind this recognition. It was this experimental potential in 2013 that inspired the SAFIRE Project. Through private funding, ISF offered $1,000,000 for its initial financing with $1,200,000 for continued funding through 2015. With these funds, plasma scientists, electrical engineers, and design of experiment professionals have come together to explore 3-D plasma behavior under unique conditions that have been rarely considered in traditional plasma experiments. They have been conducting tests in preparation for a larger experiment in the next few months. The preliminary tests have produced some unexpected and even remarkable results.
For the larger experiment, the project will utilize a low pressure chamber and a centrally located charged sphere, under varying degrees and configurations of electrical stress. Measurements of activity in the SAFIRE chamber will be correlated with recent NASA data on the Sun. From the observations gained, the SAFIRE team hopes to determine the extent to which the Sun is responding to a heliospheric electric field. Of course, that field could be immeasurable at planetary distances from the Sun. However, across the massive volume of the heliosphere it could hold sufficient charge to account for solar behavior that might otherwise remain unexplained. If so, the SAFIRE findings could open a new chapter in today’s solar physics.
Dr. Michael Clarage received his PhD in physics from Brandeis University in 1992, studying the biological and statistical behavior of proteins. Prior to that, he spent several years studying binary pulsars at the Arecibo radio telescope. He has given traveling lectures in the areas of fractional calculus, fractals, and chaotic systems as well as presented public talks on such topics as relativity and dimensions, transformation in supernova and metamorphosis in biology. Dr. Clarage is currently a scientist with the SAFIRE Project.