The PAMELA Experiment: A Cosmic Ray Experiment Deep Inside the Heliosphere
2017 October 23
It was the 15th of June of 2006 when the PAMELA satellite-borne experiment was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakstan. Then, for nearly ten years, PAMELA has been making high-precision measurements of the charged component of the cosmic radiation opening a new era of precision studies in cosmic rays and challenging our basic vision of the mechanisms of production, acceleration and propagation of cosmic rays in the galaxy and in the heliosphere. The study of the time dependence of the various components of the cosmic radiation from the unusual 23rd solar minimum through the maximum of solar cycle 24 clearly shows solar modulation effects as well as charge sign dependence. PAMELA measurement of the energy spectra during solar energetic particle events fills the existing energy gap between the highest energy particles measured in space and the ground-based domain. Finally, by sampling the particle radiation in different regions of the magnetosphere, PAMELA data provide a detailed study of the Earth~s magnetosphere. In this highlight paper, PAMELA main results as well as recent progress about solar and heliospheric physics with PAMELA will be presented.