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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The particle data delivered by the Fast Plasma Investigation instrument aboard National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission allow for exceptionally high-resolution examination of the electron and ion phase space in the near-Earth plasma environment. It is necessary to identify populations which originate from instrumental effects. Using Fast Plasma Investigation's Dual Electron Spectrometers, we isolate a high-energy (approximately kiloelectron volt) beam, present while the spacecraft are in the solar wind, which exhibits an azimuthal drift with period associated with the spacecraft spin. We show that this population is consistent with negative hydrogen ions H generated by a double charge exchange interaction between the incident solar wind H+ ions and the metallic surfaces within the instrument. This interaction is likely to occur at the deflector plates close to the instrument aperture. The H density is shown to be approximately 0.2-0.4% of the solar wind ion density, and the energy of the negative ion population is shown to be 70% of the incident solar wind energy. These negative ions may introduce errors in electron velocity moments on the order of 0.2-0.4% of the solar wind velocity and significantly higher errors in the electron temperature.
    Keywords: Plasma Physics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN61758 , Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics (e-ISSN 2169-9402); 123; 8; 6161-6170
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Secondary electrons are continuously generated via photoemission from sunlit spacecraft and instrument surfaces. These particles can subsequently contaminate low-energy channels of electron sensors. Spacecraft photoelectrons are measured at energies below that of a positive spacecraft potential and can be removed at the expense of energy resolution. However, fluxes of photoelectrons generated inside electron instruments are independent of spacecraft potential and must be fully characterized in order to correct electron data. Here we present observations of spacecraft and instrument photoelectron populations measured with the Dual Electron Spectrometers (DES) on NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. We leverage observations from Earth's nightside plasma sheet taken during MMS commissioning and develop an empirical model of instrument photoelectrons. This model is used with DES velocity distribution functions to correct plasma moments and has been made publicly available on the MMS science data center for use by the scientific community.
    Keywords: Physics (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN52091 , Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics (ISSN 2169-9402) (e-ISSN 2169-9402); 122; 11; 11,548-11,558
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Alfven waves are fundamental plasma wave modes that permeate the universe. At small kinetic scales they provide a critical mechanism for the transfer of energy between electromagnetic fields and charged particles. These waves are important not only in planetary magnetospheres, heliospheres, and astrophysical systems, but also in laboratory plasma experiments and fusion reactors. Through measurement of charged particles and electromagnetic fields with NASAs Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, we utilize Earths magnetosphere as a plasma physics laboratory. Here we confirm the conservative energy exchange between the electromagnetic field fluctuations and the charged particles that comprise an undamped kinetic Alfven wave. Electrons confined between adjacent wave peaks may have contributed to saturation of damping effects via non-linear particle trapping. The investigation of these detailed wave dynamics has been unexplored territory in experimental plasma physics and is only recently enabled by high-resolution MMS observations.
    Keywords: Plasma Physics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN39408 , Nature Communications (e-ISSN 2041-1723); 8; 14719
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The plasma science (PLS) Instrument on the Galileo spacecraft (orbiting Jupiter from December 1995 to September 2003) measured properties of the ions that were trapped in the magnetic field. The PLS data provide a survey of the plasma properties between approx. 5 and 30 Jupiter radii [R(sub J)] in the equatorial region. We present plasma properties derived via two analysis methods: numerical moments and forward modeling. We find that the density decreases with radial distance by nearly 5 orders of magnitude from approx. 2 to 3000 cm(exp.-3) at 6R(sub j) to approx. 0.05cm(sub -3) at 30 R(sub j). The density profile did not show major changes from orbit to orbit, suggesting that the plasma production and transport remained constant within about a factor of 2. The radial profile of ion temperature increased with distance which implied that contrary to the concept of adiabatic cooling on expansion, the plasma heats up as it expands out from Io's orbit (where TI is approx.60-80 eV) at approx. 6R(sub j) to a few keV at 30R(sub j).There does not seem to be a long-term, systematic variation in ion temperature with either local time or longitude. This latter finding differs from earlier analysis of Galileo PLS data from a selection of orbits. Further examination of all data from all Galileo orbits suggests that System Ill variations are transitory on timescales of weeks, consistent with the modeling of Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph observations. The plasma flow is dominated by azimuthal flow that is between 80% and 100% of corotation out to 25 R(sub j).
    Keywords: Geophysics; Numerical Analysis
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN41236 , Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (ISSN 2169-9097) (e-ISSN 2169-9100); 121; 5; 871-894
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Magnetic holes are ubiquitous in space plasmas, occurring in the solar wind, downstream of planetary bow shocks, and inside the magnetosphere. Recently, kinetic-scale magnetic holes have been observed near Earth's central plasma sheet. The Fast Plasma Investigation on NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission enables measurement of both ions and electrons with 2 orders of magnitude increased temporal resolution over previous magnetospheric instruments. Here we present data from MMS taken in Earth's nightside plasma sheet and use high-resolution particle and magnetometer data to characterize the structure of a subproton-scale magnetic hole. Electrons with gyroradii above the thermal gyroradius but below the current layer thickness carry a current sufficient to account for a 10-20 depression in magnetic field magnitude. These observations suggest that the size and magnetic depth of kinetic-scale magnetic holes is strongly dependent on the background plasma conditions.
    Keywords: Space Sciences (General); Plasma Physics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN41220 , Geophysical Research Letters (ISSN 0094-8276); 43; 9; 4112–4118
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Turbulence is a fundamental physical process through which energy injected into a system at large scales cascades to smaller scales. In collisionless plasmas, turbulence provides a critical mechanism for dissipating electromagnetic energy. Here we present observations of plasma fluctuations in low- turbulence using data from NASAs Magnetospheric Multiscale mission in Earths magnetosheath. We provide constraints on the partitioning of turbulent energy density in the fluid, ion-kinetic, and electron-kinetic ranges. Magnetic field fluctuations dominated the energy density spectrum throughout the fluid and ion-kinetic ranges, consistent with previous observations of turbulence in similar plasma regimes. However, at scales shorter than the electron inertial length, fluctuation power in electron kinetic energy significantly exceeded that of the magnetic field, resulting in an electron-motion-regulated cascade at small scales. This dominance should be highly relevant for the study of turbulence in highly magnetized laboratory and astrophysical plasmas.
    Keywords: Physics (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN55910 , Physics of Plasmas (ISSN 1070-664X) (e-ISSN 1089-7674); 25; 2; 022303
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-20
    Description: On 27 June 1996, the NASA Galileo spacecraft made humanitys first flyby of Jupiters largest moon, Ganymede, discovering that it is the only moon known to possess an internally generated magnetic field. Resurrecting the original Galileo Plasma Subsystem (PLS) data analysis software, we processed the raw PLS data from G01 and for the first time present the properties of plasmas encountered. Entry into the magnetosphere of Ganymede occurred near the confluence of the magnetopause and plasma sheet. Reconnection-driven plasma flows were observed (consistent with an Earth-like Dungey cycle), which may be a result of reconnection in the plasma sheet, magnetopause, or might be Ganymedes equivalent of a Low-Latitude Boundary Layer. Dropouts in plasma density combined with velocity perturbations afterward suggest that Galileo briefly crossed the cusps into closed magnetic field lines. Galileo then crossed the cusps, where field-aligned precipitating ions were observed flowing down into the surface, at a location consistent with observations by the Hubble Space Telescope. The density of plasma outflowing from Ganymede jumped an order of magnitude around closest approach over the north polar cap. The abrupt increase may be a result of crossing the cusp or may represent an altitude-dependent boundary such as an ionopause. More diffuse, warmer field-aligned outflows were observed in the lobes. Fluxes of particles near the moon on the nightside were significantly lower than on the dayside, possibly resulting from a diurnal cycle of the ionosphere and/or neutral atmosphere.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN63498 , Geophysical Research Letters ; 45; 8; 3382-3392
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-08-13
    Description: Plasma measurements in space are becoming increasingly faster, higher resolution, and distributed over multiple instruments. As raw data generation rates can exceed available data transfer bandwidth, data compression is becoming a critical design component. Data compression has been a staple of imaging instruments for years, but only recently have plasma measurement designers become interested in high performance data compression. Missions will often use a simple lossless compression technique yielding compression ratios of approximately 2:1, however future missions may require compression ratios upwards of 10:1. This study aims to explore how a Discrete Wavelet Transform combined with a Bit Plane Encoder (DWT/BPE), implemented via a CCSDS standard, can be used effectively to compress count information common to plasma measurements to high compression ratios while maintaining little or no compression error. The compression ASIC used for the Fast Plasma Investigation (FPI) on board the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) is used for this study. Plasma count data from multiple sources is examined: resampled data from previous missions, randomly generated data from distribution functions, and simulations of expected regimes. These are run through the compression routines with various parameters to yield the greatest possible compression ratio while maintaining little or no error, the latter indicates that fully lossless compression is obtained. Finally, recommendations are made for future missions as to what can be achieved when compressing plasma count data and how best to do so.
    Keywords: Computer Systems
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN21243 , Measurement Techniques in Solar and Space Physics; Apr 20, 2015 - Apr 24, 2015; Boulder, CO; United States
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