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Characterizing spacecraft potential effects on measured particle trajectories

Abstract : As spacecraft does not have an independent method to conduct charge to ground, it naturally accumulates charge due to interactions with the ambient plasma and surface emission. This charge produces an electric field surrounding the spacecraft, which takes the form of a plasma sheath. Charged particles traveling through this sheath are altered in both energy and direction, thus affecting derived scientific quantities. While this effect has been known since the advent of space based particle instruments, this work represents the first time that an in situ characterization study of this effect has been possible. The Fast Plasma Investigation, of the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, obtains near simultaneous measurements of phase space, via particle counts from 512 look directions and 32 energies. These new data allow the relative effects of the plasma sheath to be explored at a high time and spatial resolution. This work presents a method by which these measurements are used to study a ground model that traces the migration of particles through the sheath and estimates the error in measured velocity. This approach, performed statistically, leads to an estimation of uncertainty in particle count distributions for a given location in phase space and characterization of the redistribution of counts within a skymap due to sheath effects.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 20, 2022 - 4:54:38 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 5:19:49 AM

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A. C. Barrie, F. Cipriani, C. P. Escoubet, S. Toledo-Redondo, R. Nakamura, et al.. Characterizing spacecraft potential effects on measured particle trajectories. Physics of Plasmas, 2019, 26, ⟨10.1063/1.5119344⟩. ⟨insu-03674401⟩

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