The Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Research Laboratory (MIRL) at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), University of New Hampshire contributes to a variety of research projects in space physics. The lab primarily focuses on the development of instrumentation for ground-based, rocket-based, and satellite observations of space physics phenomena and analysis of the resulting observations.

Current research methods include:


Updated News

14 August 2017

UNH is a major contributor to the Mechanisms of Energetic Mass Ejection – eXplorer (MEME-X) mission that was recently selected by NASA to move onto the next phase of development. MEME-X was selected as one of nine proposals under the Explorers Program to conduct an 11-month mission concept study.


Illustration of the heliophysics system (Photo credit: NASA)

From the NASA press release: "MEME-X will map the universal physical processes of the lower geospace system that control the mass flux through the upper atmosphere to space potentially transforming our understanding of how ions leave Earth’s atmosphere."

The mission Principal Investigator (PI) is Dr. Thomas Moore at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Dr. Lynn Kistler is the Institutional PI for UNH and Dr. Marc Lessard is the Instrument PI for the EPLAS instrument, the same electron instrument that has been flown on several MIRL sounding rocket experiments, including RENU 2.

22 May 2017

Current collaborator and MIRL alum, Dr. Kristina Lynch was recently featured in a video on space.com discussing the use of sounding rockets for scientific research. From the video:

The smaller and less expensive rockets can be designed in 6 months and a mission can be accomplished in 1-3 years. The trade-off (from launching on a bigger rocket) is you "only get 10 minutes of suborbital flight," according to Dartmouth College physics professor Kristina Lynch.

5 May 2017

A group of lightning researchers at UNH (Dr. Ningyu Liu and students) is working together with MIRL members to help calibrate their instrumentation. MIRL is providing their integrating sphere and monochromator to convert an ultra high-speed Phantom cambera into a 1-D spectrometer. This will allow the lightning group to acquire spectral information about the evolution of lightning bolts.

4 May 2017

Update -- Drummond Biles, former MIRL undergraduate researcher and current UNH Mechanical Engineering PhD student, has WON the 2017 UNH 3 Minute Thesis Competition. Congratulations Drummond!

You can watch a video of Drummond's winning talk below.

21 April 2017

Maria Panacopoulos, Undergraduate researcher at MIRL, recieved first place in Electrical & Computer Engineering - Hardware Design at the Undergraduate Research Conference Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Symposium for a ground based camera system.

Congratulations Maria!!!

3 April 2017

Undergraduate research student Tyler Chapman has received an honorable mention for the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship. This is a highly competitive nationwide competition for one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering in America. Congratulations to Tyler for the recognition!

4/21/2017 Update: See the UNH Physics Department website for an article about Tyler's achievement. Again, congratulations Tyler!!!

2 March 2017

ISINGLASS has launched!!! From the NASA Press Release:

"Three NASA rockets carrying instruments into active auroras over Alaska to aid scientists studying the northern lights and the interactions of the solar wind with Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere were launched within a nearly two-hour period March 2, 2017."


[LEFT] A NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket soars skyward into an aurora over Alaska following a 5:14 a.m. EST, Feb. 22, launch from the Poker Flat Research Range. The rocket carried an Ionospheric Structuring: In Situ and Groundbased Low Altitude StudieS (ISINGLASS-A) instrumented payload examining the structure of an aurora. (Credits: NASA/Terry Zaperach) [RIGHT] ISINGLASS B Launches into the Alaskan sky (Photo Credit: NASA/Chris Perry)

For news about the first ISINGLASS rocket launch on 22 Feb, 2017, see this news article.