New Compact Remote Sensor to Image Ionospheric Current's Spatial Structure from Space

Monday, December 2, 2019 - 11:00 in Astronomy & Space

This blog post originated in the 2018 Science Mission Directorate Science and Technology Report. PROJECT The Microwave Electrojet Magnetogram (MEM) KEY POINTS The low SWaP MEM sensor enables cost-effective implementation of future high-impact ionospheric current investigations on resource-limited missions, including CubeSat constellations. Artist’s depiction of a series of small satellites orbiting Earth, each bearing the Microwave Electrojet Magnetogram (MEM) sensor to image ionospheric currents. Understanding the interaction and coupling processes within Earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere system is one of the key scientific challenges identified in the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) in 2012. Observations of ionospheric electrojet currents flowing around 105-km altitude are crucial to this endeavor but have been thus far unobtainable. These currents are part of a vast current system flowing between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere and the lack of measurements have left many fundamental questions unanswered despite several decades of research. NASA is currently developing a new remote sensing...

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