Publication archive

Publication archive

The general objective of ASPERA-4 (Analyser of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms) is to study the solar wind-atmosphere interaction and characterise the plasma and neutral gas environment in near-Venus space through energetic neutral atom (ENA) imaging and local charged particle measurements. The studies address the fundamental question: how strongly do the interplanetary plasma and electromagnetic fields affect the atmosphere of Venus? ASPERA-4 comprises four sensors: two ENA sensors, and electron and ion spectrometers. The Neutral Particle Imager (NPI) measures the integral ENA flux (0.1-60 keV) with no mass or energy resolution but relatively high angular resolution. The Neutral Particle Detector (NPD) measures the ENA flux, resolving velocity (0.1-10 keV for hydrogen) and mass (H and O) with a coarse angular resolution. The electron spectrometer (ELS) is a standard top-hat electrostatic analyser (energy range 0.001-20 keV) in a very compact design. These three sensors are on a scanning platform providing 4p coverage. ASPERA-4 also contains an ion mass composition sensor, IMA (Ion Mass Analyser). Mechanically, IMA is a separate unit electrically connected to the ASPERA-4 main unit. IMA provides ion measurements in the energy range 0.01-36 keV/q for the main ion components H+, He++, He+, O++, O+ and CO+2 ion group with M/q > 40 amu/q.
Published: 02 November 2007
This article is an attempt to explain some of our current knowledge concerning the nature of the Universe.
The article is based on a talk given by Professor Uwe-Jens Wiese to the Association Pro-ISSI.
Published: 01 November 2007
The Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR) aboard the Huygens Probe took several hundred visible-light images with its three cameras on approach to the surface of Titan. Several sets of stereo image pairs were collected during the descent. The digital terrain models constructed from those images show rugged topography, in places approaching the angle of repose, adjacent to flatter darker plains. Brighter regions north of the landing site display two styles of drainage patterns: (1) bright highlands with rough topography and deeply incised branching dendritic drainage networks (up to fourth order) with dark-floored valleys that are suggestive of erosion by methane rainfall and (2) short, stubby low-order drainages that follow linear fault patterns forming canyon-like features suggestive of methane spring-sapping. The topographic data show that the bright highland terrains are extremely rugged; slopes of order of 301 appear common. These systems drain into adjacent relatively flat, dark lowland terrains. A stereo model for part of the dark plains region to the east of the landing site suggests surface scour across this plain flowing from west to east leaving ~100-m-high bright ridges. Tectonic patterns are evident in (1) controlling the rectilinear, low-order, stubby drainages and (2) the "coastline" at the highland-lowland boundary with numerous straight and angular margins. In addition to flow from the highlands drainages, the lowland area shows evidence for more prolific flow parallel to the highland-lowland boundary leaving bright outliers resembling terrestrial sandbars. This implies major west to east floods across the plains where the probe landed with flow parallel to the highland-lowland boundary; the primary source of these flows is evidently not the dendritic channels in the bright highlands to the north.
Published: 01 November 2007
The low-frequency data collected with the antenna of the Permittivity, Wave and Altimetry experiment on board the Huygens Probe that landed on Titan on 14 January 2005 have been thoroughly analyzed considering different possible natural and artificial effects. Although a definite conclusion is still subject to the outcome of complementary inquiries, it results from our analysis that the observations can be explained, for the most part, in term of natural phenomena rather than being artifacts. Extremely-low frequency waves generated in the ionosphere of Titan, driven by the corotating Saturn's frozen plasma flow, are assumed to be the most likely source for the observation of the second eigenmode of a Schumann-like resonance at around 36 Hz in the moon-ionosphere cavity. This particular mode is thought to be enhanced with respect to other harmonics because of the particular location of the landing site with respect to that of the supposed sources. The power budget of the observed wave amplitude seems to be consistent with a rough model of the global current of the wake-ionosphere circuit. Broadband low-frequency noise events which are observed sporadically during the descent are probably due to shot noise on the antenna when the Probe is crossing aerosol clouds, an interpretation supported by post-flight ground tests. Contrary to the situation encountered on Earth, atmospheric lightning does not appear to be the source of a conventional Schumann resonance on Titan.
Published: 01 November 2007
The European Space Agency is currently studying the Jovian Minisat Explorer (JME), as part of its Technology Reference Studies (TRS). TRS are model science-driven studies contributing in the ESA strategic development plan of technologies that will enable future scientific missions. The JME focuses on the exploration of the Jovian system and particularly the exploration of its moon Europa. The Jupiter Minisat Orbiter (JMO) study, which is the subject of the present paper, concerns the first mission phase of JME that counts up to three missions spaced in time by 6 years using pairs of minisats. The scientific objectives are the investigation of Europas global topography, the composition of its (sub)surface and the demonstration of existence of a subsurface ocean below Europas icy crust. The present paper describes the candidate JMO system concept, based on a Europa Orbiter (JEO) supported by a communications relay satellite (JRS), and its associated technology development plan. It summarizes an analysis performed in 2004 jointly by ESA and the EADS-Astrium Company in the frame of an industrial technical assistance to ESA. It addresses the interplanetary transfer, the hostile radiation environment, the power generation issue, the communication system, as well as the need for high autonomy on-board.
Published: 02 May 2004
A numerical model for wave propagation in an unstable plasma with inhomogeneities is developed. This model describes the linear interaction of Langmuir wave packets with an electron beam and takes into account the angular diffusion of the wave vector due to wave scattering on small-amplitude density fluctuations, as well as suppression of the instability caused by the removal of the wave from the resonance with particles during crossing density perturbations of relatively large amplitude. Using this model, the evolution of the wave packets in inhomogeneous plasmas with an electron beam is studied. To analyze data obtained both in space experiments and numerical modeling, a Pearson technique was used to classify the spectral density distributions. It was shown that both experimental distributions obtained within the Earth's foreshock aboard the CLUSTER spacecraft and model distributions for the logarithm of wave intensity belong to Pearson type IV rather than normal. The main reason for deviations of empirical distributions from the normal one is that the effective number of regions where the waves grow is not very large and, as a consequence, the central limit theorem fails to be true under the typical conditions for the Earth's electron foreshock. For large amplitudes, it is suggested that power law tails can result from variations of wave amplitudes due to changes of group velocity in the inhomogeneous plasma, in particular due to reflection of waves from inhomogeneities.
Published: 27 October 2007
Observations at the Earth's magnetopause identify mode conversion from surface to kinetic Alfvén waves at the Alfvén resonance. Kinetic Alfvén waves radiate into the magnetosphere from the resonance with parallel scales up to the order of the geomagnetic field-line length and spectral energy densities obeying a kperp.-2.4 power law. Amplitudes at the Alfvén resonance are sufficient to both demagnetize ions across the magnetopause and provide field-aligned electron bursts. These waves provide diffusive transport across the magnetopause sufficient for boundary layer formation.
Published: 27 October 2007
Double Star/TC-1 and Cluster data show that both component reconnection and anti-parallel reconnection occur at the magnetopause when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is predominantly dawnward. The occurrence of these different features under these very similar IMF conditions are further confirmed by a statistical study of 290 fast flows measured in both the low and high latitude magnetopause boundary layers. The directions of these fast flows suggest a possible S-shaped configuration of the reconnection X-line under such a dawnward dominated IMF orientation.
Published: 17 October 2007
Double Star/TC-1 and Cluster data show that both component reconnection and anti-parallel reconnection occur at the magnetopause when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is predominantly dawnward. The occurrence of these different features under these very similar IMF conditions are further confirmed by a statistical study of 290 fast flows measured in both the low and high latitude magnetopause boundary layers. The directions of these fast flows suggest a possible S-shaped configuration of the reconnection X-line under such a dawnward dominated IMF orientation.
Published: 17 October 2007
With Cluster observations in the magnetotail we study dynamics of plasma sheet thinning and stretching during 39 intervals associated with substorm growth phases. The cross-tail current density and normal magnetic field generally scale as Bn ~ TpNp 1/2/J0, but with frequent transient variations. Typical pre-onset values are Bz ~1-2 nT, Jo ~ 4-8 nA/m², thickness (Harris estimate) >3000 km. A current density increase in each particular event is not accompanied with a corresponding number density increase. About 30% of the events are characterized by a large (>5 nT) field component parallel to the current (in most of cases equal to By), implying adiabatic particle dynamics even with small Bz. Most local onsets, associated with the ends of thin sheet intervals, were accompanied with tailward plasma flows. In some cases embedded current sheet structure was detected and, therefore, estimation of thickness requires caution.
Published: 17 October 2007
  • Foreword
  • Five Years of INTEGRAL
  • AO-6 KP Announcement and AO-5 KP Update
  • Recent Scientific Highlights
  • Science Operations
  • Changes at ISOC
  • Contacting ISOC
Published: 16 October 2007
Jets of material have been seen emanating from the south-polar terrain of Saturn's satellite Enceladus. Observations have shown that this region is anomalously warm, with the hottest measured temperatures coinciding with the four 'tiger stripe' fractures, named Alexandria, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus, that straddle the region. Here we use Cassini images taken from a variety of viewing directions over two years to triangulate the source locations for the most prominent jets, and compare these with the infrared hotspot locations and the predictions from a recent model of tidally induced shear heating within the fractures. We find that the jets emanate from the four tiger stripes, with the strongest sources on Baghdad and Damascus. All the jets from each fracture seem to lie in the same nearly vertical plane. There is a strong spatial coincidence between our geographical sources and the locations of increased temperature revealed by the infrared experiment. Comparison with the shear heating model shows broad agreement; the exception is the prediction that Baghdad is the least active lineament, whereas we find it to be the most active. We predict that several new hotspots remain to be discovered by future thermal observations.
Published: 12 October 2007
Particle-in-cell simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection are presented that demonstrate that reconnection remains fast in very large systems. The electron dissipation region develops a distinct two-scale structure along the outflow direction. Consistent with fast reconnection, the length of the electron current layer stabilizes and decreases with decreasing electron mass, approaching the ion inertial length for a proton-electron plasma. Surprisingly, the electrons form a super-Alfvénic outflow jet that remains decoupled from the magnetic field and extends large distances downstream from the x line.
Published: 10 October 2007
Report of the Joint Science and Technology Definition Team (JSTDT)
Published: 06 October 2007
Cluster data from many different intervals in the magnetospheric plasmas sheet and the solar wind are employed to determine the magnetic Taylor microscale from simultaneous multiple point measurements. For this study we define the Taylor scale as the square root of the ratio of the mean square magnetic field (or velocity) fluctuations to the mean square spatial derivatives of their fluctuations. The Taylor scale may be used, in the assumption of a classical Ohmic dissipation function, to estimate effective magnetic Reynolds numbers, as well as other properties of the small scale turbulence. Using solar wind magnetic field data, we have determined a Taylor scale value of 2400 ± 100 km, which is used to obtain an effective magnetic Reynolds number of about 260,000 ± 20,000, and in the plasma sheet we calculated a Taylor scale of 1900 ± 100 km, which allowed us to obtain effective magnetic Reynolds numbers in the range of about 7 to 110. The present determination makes use of a novel extrapolation technique to derive a statistically stable estimate from a range of small scale measurements. These results may be useful in magnetohydrodynamic modeling of the solar wind and the magnetosphere and may provide constraints on kinetic theories of dissipation in space plasmas.
Published: 04 October 2007
The new reduction of the Hipparcos data presents a very significant improvement in the overall reliability of the astrometric catalogue derived from this mission. Improvements by up to a factor 4 in the accuracies for in particular brighter stars have been obtained. This has been achieved mainly through careful study of the satellite dynamics, and incorporating results from these studies in the attitude modelling. Data correlations, caused by attitude-modelling errors in the original catalogue, have all but disappeared. This book provides overviews of the new reduction as well as on the use of the Hipparcos data in a variety of astrophysical implementations. A range of new results, like cluster distances and luminosity calibrations, is presented. The Hipparcos data provide a unique opportunity for the study of satellite dynamics. The orbit covered a wide range of altitudes, showing in detail the different torques acting on the satellite. One part of the book details these studies and their impact on the new reduction. It furthermore presents an extensive summary on a wide range of spacecraft and payload calibrations, which provide a detailed record of the conditions under which these unique Hipparcos data have been obtained.
Published: 28 September 2007
High-resolution ion observations made in recent years, by the TIMAS instrument on the Polar satellite and other instruments, reveal a dynamic and finely structured plasma sheet, at least at high latitude. This study invokes multipoint Cluster observations with the CIS CODIF instruments (ion composition and distribution function) to determine whether transverse density gradients can be of the order of keV proton gyroradii scale size, as suggested by the TIMAS observations. It is shown that the plasma sheet is indeed prominently filamentary and that the proton density with 40 eV <= E <= 40 keV can vary by Delta n = 0.4 cm-3 across less than five average proton gyroradii at R ~ 5 RE (average E ~ 7.5 keV at the time). This compares favorably with typical 10-km-size (or less) auroral structures when projected earthward.
Published: 22 September 2007
UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts III. Edited by MacEwen, Howard A.; Breckinridge, James B. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 6687, pp. 668709-668709-13 (2007)

We have developed microshutter array systems at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for use as multi-object aperture arrays for a Near-Infrared Spectrometer (NIRSpec) instrument. The instrument will be carried on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the next generation of space telescope, after the Hubble Space Telescope retires. The microshutter arrays (MSAs) are designed for the selective transmission of light from objected galaxies in space with high efficiency and high contrast. Arrays are close-packed silicon nitride membranes with a pixel size close to 100x200 micron. Individual shutters are patterned with a torsion flexure permitting shutters to open 90 degrees with minimized stress concentration. In order to enhance optical contrast, light shields are made on each shutter to prevent light leak. Shutters are actuated magnetically, latched and addressed electrostatically. The shutter arrays are fabricated using MEMS bulk-micromachining and packaged utilizing a novel single-sided indium flip-chip bonding technology. The MSA flight system consists of a mosaic of 2 x 2 format of four fully addressable 365 x 171 arrays. The system will be placed in the JWST optical path at the focal plane of NIRSpec detectors. MSAs that we fabricated passed a series of qualification tests for flight capabilities. We are in the process of making final flight-qualified MSA systems for the JWST mission.

Published: 21 September 2007
The evolution of the electron distribution function through quasi-perpendicular collisionless shocks is believed to be dominated by the electron dynamics in the large-scale coherent and quasi-stationary magnetic and electric fields. We investigate the electron distributions measured on board Cluster by the Plasma Electron and Current Experiment (PEACE) instrument during three quasi-perpendicular bow shock crossings. Observed distributions are compared with those predicted by electron dynamics resulting from conservation of the first adiabatic invariant and energy in the de Hoffmann-Teller frame, for all pitch angles and all types of trajectories (passing and, for the first time, reflected or trapped). The predicted downstream velocity distributions are mapped from upstream measurements using an improved Liouville mapping technique taking into account the overshoots. Furthermore, for one of these crossings we could take advantage of the configuration of the Cluster quartet to compare mapped upstream velocity distributions with those simultaneously measured at a relatively well magnetically connected downstream location. Consequences of energy and adiabatic invariant conservation are found to be compatible with the observed electron distributions, confirming the validity of electron "heating" theories based on DC fields as zeroth-order approximations, but some systematic deviations are found between the dynamics of low- and high-adiabatic invariant electrons. Our approach also provides a way to estimate the cross-shock electric potential profile making full use of the electron measurements, and the results are compared to other estimates relying on the steady state dissipationless electron fluid equations. - Remainder of abstract truncated -
Published: 19 September 2007
Focal Plane Arrays for Space Telescopes III. Edited by Grycewicz, Thomas J.; Marshall, Cheryl J.; Warren, Penny G. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 6690, pp. 66900M (2007)

The James Webb Space Telescope's (JWST) Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) incorporates two 5 micron cutoff (lambdaco=5 micron) 2048×2048 pixel Teledyne HgCdTe HAWAII-2RG sensor chip assemblies. These detector arrays, and the two Teledyne SIDECAR application specific integrated circuits that control them, are operated in space at T ~ 37 K. In this article, we provide a brief introduction to NIRSpec, its detector subsystem (DS), detector readout in the space radiation environment, and present a snapshot of the developmental status of the NIRSpec DS as integration and testing of the engineering test unit begins.

Published: 18 September 2007
14-Jul-2024 00:40 UT

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