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Magnetospheric Multiscale


Austin Atkins

•Seems to “violate” the frozen in flux condition of highly conducting plasmas. .Magnetic Reconnection •Magnetic topology is rearranged and magnetic field energy is converted into particle kinetic (large scale flows) and thermal energy.

Observations / Occurrences • • • • Tokomaks (fusion reactors) Solar flares Magnetosphere Magnetic Dynamo .

Solar Flare Evidence .

Important Questions • • • • • • • • • • What exactly is happening in the diffusion region? How do field lines reconnect in collisionless plasmas? Frozen in flux – What’s changing? Time and length scales? Densities and temperatures? Is turbulence involved? Is there a secondary mechanism besides reconnection? How to advance computer models? Are there multiple reconnections? How hard can it be? .

Magnetic reconnection and general MHD phenomena are significant in solar activity and general space weather. Ultimately. power grids etc. can we predict these solar events? . not so much. The public.Motivation • • • • Much easier to explain to the scientific community. Solar flares and CME’s can have significant impacts on satellites. Better physics equals better technology.

• 1 Satellite – Good • 2 Satellites – Better • 3 Satellites – Still better • 4 Satellites – Now we’re talking . roll up sleeves and go in Situ! • Best to place satellites around locations where reconnection is most likely.Best way to advance the physics? • When distant observations and computer models aren’t enough.

. • Travel as a carefully oriented pack to provide the first 3 dimensional recording (mapping) of the reconnection environment. • Change orbits (phases) using onboard thrusters to increase apogee.MMS Mission – Global Perspective • Send 4 satellites into orbit around the earth to make in Situ measurements at reconnection sites (diffusion region).

The 4 satellites will fly in a tetrahedral pattern to properly measure the environment in 3 dimensions.MMS Mission-More details • • • Launch (Expected March 2015 – Atlas V) 4 identical satellites each carrying 25 identical instrument sensors. The orbits are planned to interact with reconnection sites at the dayside and tail .

first the dayside. then the tail. Orbits between 12 and 25 Re .MMS Mission-More details • Stages planned over two year period.

Aluminum structure supports the propulsion assembly. 12 sized hydrazine thrusters are used for minor geometry corrections and large orbit changes.000 pounds and is powered by 8 solar panels.Satellite Structure • • • • Many instruments developed by UNH. Each craft weighs 3. thrust assembly. . Four titanium tanks store 360 kg of propellant. instrument and spacecraft deck.

Field Instruments .

More Instruments .

Sends out beams and records how long it takes to return. Fly's Eye Energetic Particle Sensor: Silicon solid state detectors measure how many electrons of different energies and arrival directions. . Fast Plasma Investigation: Features multiple electron and ion spectrometers. 2 per craft provide a total of 18 views in different directions simultaneously. Uses Archimedes screws to deploy. Produces 3D picture of ion plasma every 150 milliseconds (electron plasma every 30 milliseconds). Spin Plane Double Probe: Used to measure voltage across sensors on 200 foot long wires.Instrument overview • • • • • 3 Suites of instruments are onboard. A hot plasma suite. energetic particles detector suite and fields suite. Can observe the entire sky. Electron drift instrument: Measures E and B fields by tracking the path of electron beams.

.Communication • • • • The satellites will rely on GPS satellites and ground antennas (Doppler) for orbital information and tetrahedral configuration. One craft acts as a base while three additional crafts are used(one for each dimension). Crafts can be arranged from 6 miles to 250 miles. A single S-band (2.95) GHz frequency for uplink and downlink from all 4 spacecraft.6 – 3.

power. parts with low failure rates might now become noticeable. • If one craft suffers complete failure (communication.Difficulties • With many parts and 4 identical crafts. thrusters) is all 3D data impossible? • Atlas V failure leads to all 4 craft being lost. .