Laboratory Investigation of Near-Earth Space Plasma Processes
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC PLASMA PHYSICS DIV
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Energetic particles and plasma dynamics in the near-Earth space environment can significantly impact operation of both military and civilian systems. The underlying physical mechanisms relevant to two important space plasma issues, radiation belt dynamics and auroral ionospheric space weather, are under investigation in the NRL Space Physics Simulation Chamber SPSC. Plasma conditions within this large laboratory device can be scaled to match key dimensionless parameters representative of ionospheric or magnetospheric regions of interest. Under scaled radiation belt conditions, Space Chamber experiments are addressing linear and nonlinear whistler wave propagation characteristics and wave-particle interactions. Under scaled auroral ionospheric conditions, the generation of electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves by sheared plasma flows and their impact on the dynamics and morphology of the geospace environment are being investigated. Additionally, Space Chamber research is directed at development of innovative diagnostic techniques for space and laboratory use.
- Atmospheric Physics
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics