Whitepaper #261 in the Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. Main topics: basic research. Additional topics: planetary magnetospheres; space-based missions/projects; system science.
This paper describes the science motivation for transformational multi-scale observations of mass and energy flows in Earth’s magnetosphere, demonstrating why this is a persistent and critical Heliophysics knowledge gap. A spaceflight mission concept, Plasma Imaging LOcal and Tomographic experiment (PILOT), is described, which can provide the observations required to close this knowledge gap.