The thermal component of the magnetospheric plasma plays a key role in magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling processes, acting as a strong influence on ionospheric structure at low altitudes and as a source and modifier of the hotter plasma population at high altitudes. The Retarding Ion Mass Spectrometer (RIMS) instrument on Dynamics Explorer-A is designed to measure this important thermal plasma component. Using a combination of retarding potential analysis and magnetic ion mass spectrometer techniques, the RIMS instrument will measure the bulk plasma parameters of ion density (0.1 to 1,000,000 ions/cu cm), temperature (0-45 eV), and bulk flow (greater than 0.5 km/sec) in the inner plasmasphere and ionosphere, and the specific ion pitch angle and energy spectral characteristics in the outer plasmasphere and plasma trough for a mass range of 1-32 amu. The energy and mass spectral step sequences, as well as the multiplexing of the resultant data, can be tailored to accomplish a variety of thermal ion measurements throughout the inner magnetosphere.
Space Science Instrumentation; 5; Dec. 198