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Cross-scale: A multi-spacecraft mission to study cross-scale coupling in space plasmas
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2006 (English)In: European Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP, 2006, no 598, 561-568 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Collisionless astrophysical plasmas exhibit complexity on many scales: if we are to understand their properties and effects, we must measure this complexity. We can identify a small number of processes and phenomena, one of which is dominant in almost every space plasma region of interest: shocks, reconnection and turbulence. These processes act to transfer energy between locations, scales and modes. However, this transfer is characterised by variability and 3D structure on at least three scales: electron kinetic, ion kinetic and fluid. It is the nonlinear interaction between physical processes at these scales that is the key to understanding these phenomena and predicting their effects. However, current and planned multi-spacecraft missions such as Cluster and MMS only study variations on one scale in 3D at any given time - we must measure the three scales simultaneously fully to understand the energy transfer processes. We propose a mission, called Cross-Scale, to study these processes. Cross-Scale would comprise three nested groups, each consisting of up to four spacecraft. Each group would have a different spacecraft separation, at approximately the electron and ion gyroradii, and a larger MHD scale. We would therefore be able to measure variations on all three important physical scales, simultaneously, for the first time. The spacecraft would fly in formation through key regions of near-Earth space: The solar wind, bowshock, magnetosheath, magnetopause and magnetotail.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. no 598, 561-568 p.
Keyword [en]
Astrophysics, Energy transfer, Magnetohydrodynamics, Plasma shock waves, Plasma turbulence, Spacecraft, Electron kinetic, Nonlinear interaction, Space plasmas, Spacecraft separation, Space research
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-26909ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33646567756OAI: diva2:372893
5th Anniversary of Cluster in Space - Cluster and Double Star Symposium; Noordwijk; 19 September 2005 through 23 September 2005
QC 20101129Available from: 2010-11-29 Created: 2010-11-29 Last updated: 2010-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Blomberg, Lars
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