Space Science Reviews

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The GOES-16 Spacecraft Science Magnetometer

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Since their inception in the 1970s, the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system has monitored the sources of space weather on the sun and the effects of space weather at Earth. These observations are important for providing forecasts, warnings and alerts to many customers, including satellite operators, the power utilities, and NASA’s human activities in space. The GOES magnetometer provides observations of the geomagnetic field, which can be the first indication that significant space weather has reached Earth. In addition, the magnetic field observations are used to identify and forecast the severity of the space weather activity. This paper reviews the capabilities of the GOES-16 magnetometer (MAG) and presents initial post-launch calibration/validation results including issues found in the data. The GOES-16 MAG requirements and capabilities are similar to those for previously flown instruments, measuring three components of the geomagnetic field but with an improved sampling rate of 10 samples/second. The MAG data are low-pass filtered with a 2.5 Hz cutoff compared to the 0.5 Hz cutoff of previous GOES magnetometers. The MAG is composed of two magnetometers, an inboard (closer to spacecraft bus) and outboard (on tip of boom) magnetometer. Presented are the science and instrument requirements, ground and initial on-orbit instrument calibration and data validation. The on-orbit analysis found magnetic contamination along with temperature dependency effects that resulted in unexpected instrument noise and decreased accuracy, with the issues generally more significant on the inboard magnetometer. The outboard sensor was used for initial analysis of MAG performance. Preliminary comparison, excluding arcjet firing periods, between the outboard magnetometer and the GOES-14 magnetometer found a statistical difference of 5 nT at $$3\sigma$$ for the total field. This comparison does not consider inaccuracies in the GOES-14 magnetometer. Future studies will focus on optimizing the outboard sensor performance.

Explosive Magnetotail Activity

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Modes and manifestations of the explosive activity in the Earth’s magnetotail, as well as its onset mechanisms and key pre-onset conditions are reviewed. Two mechanisms for the generation of the pre-onset current sheet are discussed, namely magnetic flux addition to the tail lobes, or other high-latitude perturbations, and magnetic flux evacuation from the near-Earth tail associated with dayside reconnection. Reconnection onset may require stretching and thinning of the sheet down to electron scales. It may also start in thicker sheets in regions with a tailward gradient of the equatorial magnetic field $$B_{z}$$ ; in this case it begins as an ideal-MHD instability followed by the generation of bursty bulk flows and dipolarization fronts. Indeed, remote sensing and global MHD modeling show the formation of tail regions with increased $$B_{z}$$ , prone to magnetic reconnection, ballooning/interchange and flapping instabilities. While interchange instability may also develop in such thicker sheets, it may grow more slowly compared to tearing and cause secondary reconnection locally in the dawn-dusk direction. Post-onset transients include bursty flows and dipolarization fronts, micro-instabilities of lower-hybrid-drift and whistler waves, as well as damped global flux tube oscillations in the near-Earth region. They convert the stretched tail magnetic field energy into bulk plasma acceleration and collisionless heating, excitation of a broad spectrum of plasma waves, and collisional dissipation in the ionosphere. Collisionless heating involves ion reflection from fronts, Fermi, betatron as well as other, non-adiabatic, mechanisms. Ionospheric manifestations of some of these magnetotail phenomena are discussed. Explosive plasma phenomena observed in the laboratory, the solar corona and solar wind are also discussed.

Local Manifestations of Cometary Activity

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Comets are made of volatile and refractory material and naturally experience various degrees of sublimation as they orbit around the Sun. This gas release, accompanied by dust, represents what is traditionally described as activity. Although the basic principles are well established, most details remain elusive, especially regarding the mechanisms by which dust is detached from the surface and subsequently accelerated by the gas flows surrounding the nucleus.

During its 2 years rendez-vous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ESA’s Rosetta has observed cometary activity with unprecedented details, in both the inbound and outbound legs of the comet’s orbit. This trove of data provides a solid ground on which new models of activity can be built. In this chapter, we review how activity manifests at close distance from the surface, establish a nomenclature for the different types of observed features, discuss how activity is at the same time transforming and being shaped by the topography, and finally address several potential mechanisms.

The Thermal, Mechanical, Structural, and Dielectric Properties of Cometary Nuclei After Rosetta

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The physical properties of cometary nuclei observed today relate to their complex history and help to constrain their formation and evolution. In this article, we review some of the main physical properties of cometary nuclei and focus in particular on the thermal, mechanical, structural and dielectric properties, emphasising the progress made during the Rosetta mission. Comets have a low density of $$480 \pm 220~\mbox{kg}\,\mbox{m}^{-3}$$ and a low permittivity of 1.9–2.0, consistent with a high porosity of 70–80%, are weak with a very low global tensile strength $$<100$$  Pa, and have a low bulk thermal inertia of $$0\mbox{--}60~\mbox{J}\,\mbox{K}^{-1}\,\mbox{m}^{-2}\,\mbox{s}^{-1/2}$$ that allowed them to preserve highly volatiles species (e.g. CO, CO2, CH4, N2) into their interior since their formation. As revealed by 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the above physical properties vary across the nucleus, spatially at its surface but also with depth. The broad picture is that the bulk of the nucleus consists of a weakly bonded, rather homogeneous material that preserved primordial properties under a thin shell of processed material, and possibly covered by a granular material; this cover might in places reach a thickness of several meters. The properties of the top layer (the first meter) are not representative of that of the bulk nucleus. More globally, strong nucleus heterogeneities at a scale of a few meters are ruled out on 67P’s small lobe.

The Modular Multispectral Imaging Array (MMIA) of the ASIM Payload on the International Space Station

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The Modular Multispectral Imaging Array (MMIA) is a suite of optical sensors mounted on an external platform of the European Space Agency’s Columbus Module on the International Space Station. The MMIA, together with the Modular X- and Gamma- ray Sensor (MXGS), are the two main instruments forming the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM). The primary scientific objectives of the ASIM mission are to study thunderstorm electrical activity such as lightning, Transient Luminous Emissions (TLEs) and Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) by observing the associated emissions in the UV, near-infrared, x- and gamma-ray spectral bands. The MMIA includes two cameras imaging in 337 nm and 777.4 nm, at up to 12 frames per second, and three high-speed photometers at 180–230 nm, 337 nm and 777.4 nm, sampling at rates up to 100 kHz. The paper describes the MMIA and the aspects that make it an essential tool for the study of thunderstorms. The mission architecture is described in Neubert et al. (Space Sci. Rev. 215:26, 2019, this issue) and the MXGS instruments in Østgaard et al. (Space Sci. Rev. 215:23, 2019, this issue).

Editorial to the Topical Collection on Clusters of Galaxies: Physics and Cosmology

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 00:00

The ASIM Mission on the International Space Station

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) is an instrument suite on the International Space Station (ISS) for measurements of lightning, Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) and Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs). Developed in the framework of the European Space Agency (ESA), it was launched April 2, 2018 on the SpaceX CRS-14 flight to the ISS. ASIM was mounted on an external platform of ESA’s Columbus module eleven days later and is planned to take measurements during minimum 3 years. The instruments are an x- and gamma-ray monitor measuring photons from 15 keV to 20 MeV, and an array of three photometers and two cameras measuring in bands at: 180–250 nm, 337 nm and 777.4 nm. Additional objectives that can be addressed with the instruments relate to space physics like aurorae and meteors, and to Earth observation such as dust- and aerosol effects on cloud electrification. The paper describes the scientific objectives of the ASIM mission, the instruments, the mission architecture and the international collaboration supported by the ASIM Science Data Centre. ASIM is the first space mission with a comprehensive suite of instruments designed to measure TLEs and TGFs. Two companion papers describe the instruments in more detail (Østgaard et al. in Space Sci. Rev., 2019; Chanrion et al. in Space Sci. Rev., 2019).

The Galaxy Cluster Mass Scale and Its Impact on Cosmological Constraints from the Cluster Population

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The total mass of a galaxy cluster is one of its most fundamental properties. Together with the redshift, the mass links observation and theory, allowing us to use the cluster population to test models of structure formation and to constrain cosmological parameters. Building on the rich heritage from X-ray surveys, new results from Sunyaev-Zeldovich and optical surveys have stimulated a resurgence of interest in cluster cosmology. These studies have generally found fewer clusters than predicted by the baseline Planck $$\varLambda$$ CDM model, prompting a renewed effort on the part of the community to obtain a definitive measure of the true cluster mass scale. Here we review recent progress on this front. Our theoretical understanding continues to advance, with numerical simulations being the cornerstone of this effort. On the observational side, new, sophisticated techniques are being deployed in individual mass measurements and to account for selection biases in cluster surveys. We summarise the state of the art in cluster mass estimation methods and the systematic uncertainties and biases inherent in each approach, which are now well identified and understood, and explore how current uncertainties propagate into the cosmological parameter analysis. We discuss the prospects for improvements to the measurement of the mass scale using upcoming multi-wavelength data, and the future use of the cluster population as a cosmological probe.

Constraining Gas Motions in the Intra-Cluster Medium

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The detailed velocity structure of the diffuse X-ray emitting intra-cluster medium (ICM) remains one of the last missing key ingredients in understanding the microphysical properties of these hot baryons and constraining our models of the growth and evolution of structure on the largest scales in the Universe. Direct measurements of the gas velocities from the widths and shifts of X-ray emission lines were recently provided for the central region of the Perseus Cluster of galaxies by Hitomi, and upcoming high-resolution X-ray microcalorimeters onboard XRISM and Athena are expected to extend these studies to many more systems. In the mean time, several other direct and indirect methods have been proposed for estimating the velocity structure in the ICM, ranging from resonant scattering to X-ray surface brightness fluctuation analysis, the kinematic Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect, or using optical line emitting nebulae in the brightest cluster galaxies as tracers of the motions of the ambient plasma. Here, we review and compare the existing estimates of the velocities of the hot baryons, as well as the various overlapping physical processes that drive motions in the ICM, and discuss the implications of these measurements for constraining the viscosity and identifying the source of turbulence in clusters of galaxies.

The Modular X- and Gamma-Ray Sensor (MXGS) of the ASIM Payload on the International Space Station

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The Modular X- and Gamma-ray Sensor (MXGS) is an imaging and spectral X- and Gamma-ray instrument mounted on the starboard side of the Columbus module on the International Space Station. Together with the Modular Multi-Spectral Imaging Assembly (MMIA) (Chanrion et al. this issue) MXGS constitutes the instruments of the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) (Neubert et al. this issue). The main objectives of MXGS are to image and measure the spectrum of X- and $$\gamma$$ -rays from lightning discharges, known as Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), and for MMIA to image and perform high speed photometry of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) and lightning discharges. With these two instruments specifically designed to explore the relation between electrical discharges, TLEs and TGFs, ASIM is the first mission of its kind. With an imaging system and a large detector area MXGS will, for the first time, allow estimation of the location of the source region and characterization of the energy spectrum of individual events. The sensors have fast readout electronics to minimize pileup effects, giving high time resolution of photon detection for comparison with measurements on μs-time scales of lightning processes measured by the MMIA and other sensors in space or on the ground. The detectors cover the large energy range of the relevant photon energies. In this paper we describe the scientific objectives, design, performance, imaging capabilities and operational modes of the MXGS instrument.

Image and Data Processing for InSight Lander Operations and Science

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The Instrument Site Selection and deployment for the upcoming Mars InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) Lander is highly dependent on image products, particularly mosaics, created from the Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) and Instrument Context Camera (ICC). When data are downlinked, the Multimission Image Processing Lab (MIPL) at JPL will process image and instrument data to aid in the deployment and monitoring of these instruments. MIPL’s functions include raw telemetry processing, stereo correlation, mosaic generation, terrain mesh generation, radiometric correction, pointing correction (bundle adjustment), and the creation of products such as instrument deployment maps, surface normal products, slope products, XYZ point clouds, and roughness map layers. A software pipeline performs systematic, automated execution of the programs that create these products on every image and stereo pair received, while the pointing correction and most mosaics are hand-generated by the MIPL team members for testing and surface operations. Several mission operations software packages are used to view, query, and analyze the processed images and mosaics for placing the main science instruments for the mission.

The Multi-needle Langmuir Probe Instrument for QB50 Mission: Case Studies of Ex-Alta 1 and Hoopoe Satellites

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The QB50 mission is a satellite constellation designed to carry out measurements at between 200–380 km altitude in the ionosphere. The multi-needle Langmuir probe (m-NLP) instrument has been mounted on board eleven QB50 satellites in order to characterize ambient plasma. The distinct feature of this instrument is its capability of measuring the plasma density at high spatial resolution without the need to know the electron temperature or the spacecraft potential. While the instrument has been deployed on many sounding rockets, the QB50 satellites offer the opportunity to demonstrate the operation of the instrument in low-earth orbit (LEO). This paper provides a brief review of the m-NLP instrument specifically designed for the QB50 mission and the case studies of the instrument’s performance on board the Ex-Alta 1 and Hoopoe satellites. The system has also been functionally verified in a plasma chamber at the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC). Although the QB50 mission’s scientific goals have not been reached yet and some uncertainties still remain, there are some optimistic in-orbit preliminary results which could be helpful for the system improvement in future campaigns. Particularly, the electron emitter as part of the m-NLP science unit has demonstrated its capability in the plasma chamber and in orbit to mitigate spacecraft charging effects.

Comet 67P/CG Nucleus Composition and Comparison to Other Comets

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

We review our current knowledge of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko nucleus composition as inferred from measurements made by remote sensing and in-situ instruments aboard Rosetta orbiter and Philae lander. Spectrophotometric properties (albedos, color indexes and Hapke parameters) of 67P/CG derived by Rosetta are discussed in the context of other comets previously explored by space missions. Composed of an assemblage made of ices, organic materials and minerals, cometary nuclei exhibit very dark and red surfaces which can be described by means of spectrophotometric quantities and reproduced with laboratory measurements. The presence of surface water and carbon dioxide ices was found by Rosetta to occur at localized sites where the activity driven by solar input, gaseous condensation or exposure of pristine inner layers can maintain these species on the surface. Apart from these specific areas, 67P/CG’s surface appears remarkably uniform in composition with a predominance of organic materials and minerals. The organic compounds contain abundant hydroxyl group and a refractory macromolecular material bearing aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. The mineral components are compatible with a mixture of silicates and fine-grained opaques, including Fe-sulfides, like troilite and pyrrhotite, and ammoniated salts. In the vicinity of the perihelion several active phenomena, including the erosion of surface layers, the localized activity in cliffs, fractures and pits, the collapse of overhangs and walls, the transfer and redeposition of dust, cause the evolution of the different regions of the nucleus by inducing color, composition and texture changes.

The Origin and Fate of O 2 $\mbox{O}_{2}$ in Europa’s Ice: An Atmospheric Perspective

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

The early prediction and subsequent detection of an $$\mbox{O}_{2}$$ atmosphere on Europa, coupled with the discovery that Europa has an ocean under its ice mantle, has made this moon a prime astrobiologic target, soon to be visited by the JUICE and Europa Clipper spacecraft. In spite of the considerable number of observational, modeling, and laboratory efforts, understanding the physics leading to the observed morphology of Europa’s near-surface $$\mbox{O}_{2}$$ atmosphere has been problematic. This is the case as the observed emissions depend on the local incident plasma ion flux, the local temperature and composition of the regolith, as well as on the near-surface electron temperature and density. Here we rely heavily on earlier reviews briefly summarizing the observational, laboratory and simulation efforts. Although it is agreed that radiolysis of the surface ice by the incident Jovian plasma is the ultimate source of observed O2, a recent, simple model of thermal desorption from a regolith permeated with $$\mbox{O}_{2}$$ has changed the usual paradigm. In that model, the observed orbital dependence of the local source of the near-surface O2 atmosphere is suggested to be due to the release of $$\mbox{O}_{2}$$ likely trapped on the ice grains at dangling bonds by the solar flux with a smaller contribution due to direct sputtering. This assumes that Europa’s icy regolith is permeated with trapped $$\mbox{O}_{2}$$ , which could also affect our understanding of the suggestion that the radiolytic products in Europa’s regolith might be a source of oxidants for its underground ocean.

Accretion of Water in Carbonaceous Chondrites: Current Evidence and Implications for the Delivery of Water to Early Earth

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Protoplanetary disks are dust-rich structures around young stars. The crystalline and amorphous materials contained within these disks are variably thermally processed and accreted to make bodies of a wide range of sizes and compositions, depending on the heliocentric distance of formation. The chondritic meteorites are fragments of relatively small and undifferentiated bodies, and the minerals that they contain carry chemical signatures providing information about the early environment available for planetesimal formation. A current hot topic of debate is the delivery of volatiles to terrestrial planets, understanding that they were built from planetesimals formed under far more reducing conditions than the primordial carbonaceous chondritic bodies. In this review, we describe significant evidence for the accretion of ices and hydrated minerals in the outer protoplanetary disk. In that distant region highly porous and fragile carbon and water-rich transitional asteroids formed, being the parent bodies of the carbonaceous chondrites (CCs). CCs are undifferentiated meteorites that never melted but experienced other physical processes including thermal and aqueous alteration. Recent evidence indicates that few of them have escaped significant alteration, retaining unique features that can be interpreted as evidence of wet accretion. Some examples of carbonaceous chondrite parent body aqueous alteration will be presented. Finally, atomistic interpretations of the first steps leading to water-mediated alteration during the accretion of CCs are provided and discussed. From these new insights into the water retained in CCs we can decipher the pathways of delivery of volatiles to the terrestrial planets.

Astrophysics with the Spatially and Spectrally Resolved Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effects

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

In recent years, observations of the Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect have had significant cosmological implications and have begun to serve as a powerful and independent probe of the warm and hot gas that pervades the Universe. As a few pioneering studies have already shown, SZ observations both complement X-ray observations—the traditional tool for studying the intra-cluster medium—and bring unique capabilities for probing astrophysical processes at high redshifts and out to the low-density regions in the outskirts of galaxy clusters. Advances in SZ observations have largely been driven by developments in centimetre-, millimetre-, and submillimetre-wave instrumentation on ground-based facilities, with notable exceptions including results from the Planck satellite. Here we review the utility of the thermal, kinematic, relativistic, non-thermal, and polarised SZ effects for studies of galaxy clusters and other large scale structures, incorporating the many advances over the past two decades that have impacted SZ theory, simulations, and observations. We also discuss observational results, techniques, and challenges, and aim to give an overview and perspective on emerging opportunities, with the goal of highlighting some of the exciting new directions in this field.

Diffuse Radio Emission from Galaxy Clusters

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Editorial: Topical Collection on Multi-Point Measurements of the Thermosphere with the QB50 Mission

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00

Shocks and Non-thermal Particles in Clusters of Galaxies

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Galaxy clusters grow by gas accretion, mostly from mergers of substructures, which release powerful shock waves into cosmic plasmas and convert a fraction of kinetic energy into thermal energy, amplification of magnetic fields and into the acceleration of energetic particles. The modeling of the radio signature of cosmic shocks, combined with the lack of detected $$\gamma$$ -rays from cosmic ray (CR) protons, poses challenges to our understanding of how cosmic rays get accelerated and stored in the intracluster medium. Here we review the injection of CRs by cosmic shocks of different strengths, combining the detailed “microscopic” view of collisionless processes governing the creation of non-thermal distributions of electrons and protons in cluster shocks (based on analytic theory and particle-in-cell simulations), with the “macroscopic” view of the large-scale distribution of cosmic rays, suggested by modern cosmological simulations. Time dependent non-linear kinetic models of particle acceleration by multiple internal shocks with large scale compressible motions of plasma with soft CR spectra containing a noticeable energy density in the super-thermal protons of energies below a few GeV which is difficult to constrain by Fermi observations are discussed. We consider the effect of plasma composition on CR injection and super-thermal particle population in the hot intracluster matter which can be constrained by fine high resolution X-ray spectroscopy of Fe ions.

Mars’ Background Free Oscillations

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 00:00
Abstract

Observations and inversion of the eigenfrequencies of free oscillations constitute powerful tools to investigate the internal structure of a planet. On Mars, such free oscillations can be excited by atmospheric pressure and wind stresses from the Martian atmosphere, analogous to what occurs on Earth. Over long periods and on a global scale, this phenomenon may continuously excite Mars’ background free oscillations (MBFs), which constitute the so-called Martian hum. However, the source exciting MBFs is related both to the global-scale atmospheric circulation on Mars and to the variations in pressure and wind at the planetary boundary layer, for which no data are available.

To overcome this drawback, we focus herein on a global-scale source and use results of simulations based on General Circular Models (GCMs). GCMs can predict and reproduce long-term, global-scale Martian pressure and wind variations and suggest that, contrary to what happens on Earth, daily correlations in the Martian hum might be generated by the solar-driven GCM. After recalling the excitation terms, we calculate MBFs by using GCM computations and estimate the contribution to the hum made by the global atmospheric circulation. Although we work at the lower limit of MBF signals, the results indicate that the signal is likely to be periodic, which would allow us to use more efficient stacking theories than can be applied to Earth’s hum. We conclude by discussing the perspectives for the InSight SEIS instrument to detect the Martian hum. The amplitude of the MBF signal is on the order of nanogals and is therefore hidden by instrumental and thermal noise, which implies that, provided the predicted daily coherence in hum excitation is present, the InSight SEIS seismometer should be capable of detecting the Martian hum after monthly to yearly stacks.

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