Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) project will investigate the dynamic response of the Earth's magnetosphere to the impact of the solar wind in a way never attempted before. This exclusive research will allow us to more fully define how things that happen in the solar wind affect space around earth. The SMILE proposal was one of 13 submitted by international teams to a recent joint European Space Agency/Chinese Academy of Sciences competition for a mission opportunity. The SMILE project was the only one of these proposed missions to be selected for the next phase, a eight-month study to address a series of questions raised by the two funding agencies. If these are successfully dealt with, the mission will get a “green light” for full implementation.

The Auroral Imaging Group's role in the SMILE mission is the ultra-violet imager that will observe and measure the properties of the northern aurora. With SMILE, researchers will image X-rays produced from the impact of the solar wind and the magnetosphere and take simultaneous images of the aurora that are produced as a result of that interaction. 

If the mission is green-lit and additional funding for the UV imager is obtained, SMILE is expected to launch around the end of 2021 and the mission duration is initially planned to be three years.