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Active measurement of the thermal electron density and temperature on the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter of the BepiColombo mission
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2006 (English)In: Advances in Space Research, ISSN 0273-1177, Vol. 38, no 4, 686-692 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The thermal component of Mercury's electron population has never been measured. One scientific objective of the Plasma Wave Investigation consortium, PWI, is to determine the influence of the thermal plasma upon the formation and dynamics of the planetary magnetosphere, as a function of solar activity. The Active Measurement of Mercury's Plasma experiment, AM(2)p, has been proposed as part of PWI, to monitor the density and temperature of the thermal electron population, during the whole mission of the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter of BepiColombo. These two physical parameters will be deduced from the measurements of the self- and mutual-impedances of the MEFISTO (Mercury Electric Field In Situ Tool) double-sphere antenna, in a frequency range comprising the expected plasma frequency. The in situ measurement of the antenna impedance is also essential for calibrating the electric antenna which measures the natural waves; it will allow, in particular, the effective length of the antenna to be calculated as a function of frequency and plasma conditions. The purpose of this paper is to define the scientific objectives of AM(2)p, to explain the principle of the measurement, to describe the electronic device, and to show the ability of AM 2p to make reliable and accurate measurements of the thermal plasma density and temperature in the Hermean magnetosphere, as well as in the solar wind at heliocentric distances of 0.31-0.47 AU. The potential performance of this instrument has been evaluated using both an analytical approach and numerical simulations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 38, no 4, 686-692 p.
Keyword [en]
active experiment, plasma density and electron temperature measurements, mercury plasma environment, plasma wave investigation consortium, mercury magnetospheric orbiter, BepiColombo mission
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-37659DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2006.03.031ISI: 000202988100020ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33750994666OAI: diva2:434672

QC 20110816

QC 20150914

Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-08-16 Last updated: 2015-09-14Bibliographically approved

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Blomberg, Lars G.
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Space and Plasma Physics
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