Our Charter

Overview:

The Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at Caltech is dedicated to science operations, data archives, and community support for astronomy and solar system science missions, with a historical emphasis on infrared-submillimeter astronomy and exoplanet science.

Philosophy:

The IPAC philosophy is to work on community-driven, high-scientific priority projects that are too large in terms of computational hardware, software, or operational resources to be handled by a single university group.

Smaller projects are undertaken by IPAC if they are particularly synergistic with the IPAC mission or if they are particularly cost-effective to conduct at IPAC.

Critical to the proper execution of all programs at IPAC is a staff of active researchers who partner with the science community, guide the development of those tasks and subsequently assist other astronomers in using the final products. A vibrant research environment and first-rate researchers are essential to fulfilling the IPAC mission.

IPAC leadership combines an overall understanding of the science goals of a project with technical knowledge to achieve those goals in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Missions, Projects and Services:

IPAC supports NASA, NSF and privately funded projects. IPAC has a rich history in supporting missions and projects formed out of multinational collaborations.

The science team at IPAC has expertise in all areas of astrophysics, with a particular emphasis on long-wavelength astronomy, exoplanet science, cosmology, gravitational lensing and dark energy.

IPAC is diverse and fulfills a number of roles and functions. For example, IPAC conducts Science Center functions for missions; it carries out challenging data management tasks that enable and enhance the return from major projects such as Great Observatories or all-sky surveys; IPAC also provides award-winning media, outreach and education support for most of these projects.

For NASA, IPAC serves as NASA's science archive center for infrared and long-wavelength astrophysics data. IPAC is the administrative home for the Spitzer Science Center (SSC) and the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExSci) within the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at Caltech.

IPAC provides active support for over 20 missions and programs. Full listings of IPAC missions and archives are available at: http://www.ipac.caltech.edu/mission and http://www.ipac.caltech.edu/archives.