AERO: Auroral Emissions Radio Observer
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States
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Earths aurora has a deep complexity and richness that is of intense interest for our understanding of space physics, with many unknown or ill-defined features. Auroral radio emissions in the LF and HF frequency range allow radio remote sensing, leading to investigation of nonlinear wave processes and wave-particle interactions operating in a broad range of heliospheric, planetary and astrophysical plasmas. The Auroral Emission Radio Observer AERO is a one-year CubeSat mission in polar orbit that will significantly advance our knowledge by examining radio emissions from the auroral acceleration region in near-Earth space. AERO uses a unique electromagnetic vector sensor VS to study AKR at LF and HF frequencies 100 kHz - 5 MHz with six orthogonal dipole and loop antennas giving angle of arrival and polarization information within a single unit. The mission will store many orbits of compressed data on board, then select download segments based either on summary spectrogram ground analysis or on automatic detection of bright auroral radio events. AERO is also a stepping stone to a novel spaceborne high capability remote sensing platform for diverse scientific targets such as radio emission from the solar corona and inner heliosphere, and anisotropic turbulence properties of interplanetary medium plasma.
- Active and Passive Radar Detection and Equipment
- Unmanned Spacecraft