It is proposed that a strong magnet (terrella) be flown at or near the Space Station to create an artificial magnetosphere in a laboratory setting. The relative flow of the ionosphere past the terrella will constitute a plasma wind that will interact with the magnetic field of the terrella to produce a localized magnetosphere. This object could then be extensively studied using diagnostic probes attached to the Space Station, or with free flyers. The space and storage requirements would be minimal, since the experiment would be conducted outside the space station. The total equipment would consist of several terrella (with varying surface conductivities), approximately 3 small magnetometer/plasma diagnostic packages, and several gas canisters for upstream seeding. Power requirements would be approximately 60 watts. Several track mounted tethers, each approximately or 200 m long in length, with track parallel to the orbital motion and 100 m long, are also needed. Astronaut time needed would be minimal in the tethered configuration (approximately 4 man hours/week). A free flying configuration, while not needing the tether track, would require much more human interaction.
GROUND SUPPORT SYSTEMS AND FACILITIES (SPACE)
NASA. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Space Station Planetology Experiments (SSPEX); 1 p