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Mars’ plasma system. Scientific potential of coordinated multipoint missions: “The next generation”

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-06, 13:36 authored by Beatriz Sánchez-Cano, Mark Lester, David J Andrews, Hermann Opgenoorth, Robert Lillis, François Leblanc, Christopher M Fowler, Xiaohua Fang, Oleg Vaisberg, Majd Mayyasi, Mika Holmberg, Jingnan Guo, Maria Hamrin, Christian Mazelle, Kerstin Peter, Martin Pätzold, Katerina Stergiopoulou, Charlotte Goetz, Vladimir Nikolaevich Ermakov, Sergei Shuvalov, James A Wild, Pierre-Louis Blelly, Michael Mendillo, Cesar Bertucci, Marco Cartacci, Roberto Orosei, Feng Chu, Andrew J Kopf, Zachary Girazian, Michael T Roman

The objective of this White Paper, submitted to ESA’s Voyage 2050 call, is to get a more holistic knowledge of the dynamics of the Martian plasma system, from its surface up to the undisturbed solar wind outside of the induced magnetosphere. This can only be achieved with coordinated multi-point observations with high temporal resolution as they have the scientific potential to track the whole dynamics of the system (from small to large scales), and they constitute the next generation of the exploration of Mars analogous to what happened at Earth a few decades ago. This White Paper discusses the key science questions that are still open at Mars and how they could be addressed with coordinated multipoint missions. The main science questions are: (i) How does solar wind driving impact the dynamics of the magnetosphere and ionosphere? (ii) What is the structure and nature of the tail of Mars’ magnetosphere at all scales? (iii) How does the lower atmosphere couple to the upper atmosphere? (iv) Why should we have a permanent in-situ Space Weather monitor at Mars? Each science question is devoted to a specific plasma region, and includes several specific scientific objectives to study in the coming decades. In addition, two mission concepts are also proposed based on coordinated multi-point science from a constellation of orbiting and ground-based platforms, which focus on understanding and solving the current science gaps.

Funding

A Consolidated Grant Proposal for Solar and Planetary Science at the University of Leicester, 2019 - 2022

Science and Technology Facilities Council

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- M.C. and R.O.: Italian Space Agency contract ASI-INAF 2019-21-HH.0. - R. L.: NASA MAVEN project. - X. F. : NASA grant 80NSSC19K0562. - C.M.F. NASA funding for the MAVEN project through the Mars Exploration Program under grant number NNH10CC04C. - C.G.: ESA Research Fellowship. - O.V.:State Program of Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. - K.P.: DFG grant TE664/4 − 1 and PA525/24 − 1. - M.P.: German Space Agency (DLR) Grant 50QM1802. - M.M. is supported, in part, by NASA Grants #NNH16ZDA001N-MDAP and #80NSSC18K0266. - F.C.: NASA Contract 1,560,641 with the Jet Propulsion Laborator

History

Author affiliation

School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Experimental Astronomy

Volume

54

Pagination

641-676

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

issn

0922-6435

eissn

1572-9508

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2024-02-06

Language

en