Graduate Student Researcher, University of California, Los Angeles
This research seeks to understand fundamental physical questions regarding space weather dynamics. With the ever increasing launches of satellites, probes, and humans into space, the demand for improved models of space weather is higher than ever. Electronics and humans are left vulnerable to the harsh radiation environment when outside of Earth's atmosphere, increasing risk for spacecraft failure and negative health effects. This study investigates a processes believed to be responsible for emptying the Earth's radiation belts of harmful high energy particles. Quantifying the effect of this process has the potential to lead to significant improvements in space weather forecasting models.
Abstract: An Engineering Radiation Monitor (ERM) has been developed as a supplementary spacecraft subsystem for NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission. The ERM will monitor total dose and deep dielectric charging at each RBSP spacecraft in real time. Configured to take the place of spacecraft balance mass, the ERM contains an array of eight dosimeters and two buried conductive plates. The dosimeters are mounted under covers of varying shielding thickness to obtain a dose-depth curve and characterize the electron and proton contributions to total dose. A 3-min readout cadence coupled with an initial sensitivity of ∼0.01 krad should enable dynamic measurements of dose rate throughout the 9-hr RBSP orbit. The dosimeters are Radiation-sensing Field Effect Transistors (RadFETs) and operate at zero bias to preserve their response even when powered off. The range of the RadFETs extends above 1000 krad to avoid saturation over the expected duration of the mission. Two large-area (∼10 cm2) charge monitor plates set behind different thickness covers will measure the dynamic currents of weakly-penetrating electrons that can be potentially hazardous to sensitive electronic components within the spacecraft. The charge monitors can handle large events without saturating (∼3000 fA/cm2) and provide sufficient sensitivity (∼0.1 fA/cm2) to gauge quiescent conditions. High time-resolution (5 s) monitoring allows detection of rapid changes in flux and enables correlation of spacecraft anomalies with local space weather conditions. Although primarily intended as an engineering subsystem to monitor spacecraft radiation levels, real-time data from the ERM may also prove useful or interesting to a larger community.
Pub.: 22 Sep '12, Pinned: 07 Aug '17
Abstract: The Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE) on the two Van Allen Probes spacecraft is the magnetosphere ring current instrument that will provide data for answering the three over-arching questions for the Van Allen Probes Program: RBSPICE will determine “how space weather creates the storm-time ring current around Earth, how that ring current supplies and supports the creation of the radiation belt populations,” and how the ring current is involved in radiation belt losses. RBSPICE is a time-of-flight versus total energy instrument that measures ions over the energy range from ∼20 keV to ∼1 MeV. RBSPICE will also measure electrons over the energy range ∼25 keV to ∼1 MeV in order to provide instrument background information in the radiation belts. A description of the instrument and its data products are provided in this chapter.
Pub.: 18 Apr '13, Pinned: 07 Aug '17
Abstract: Space weather has become a mature discipline for the Earth space environment. With increasing efforts in space exploration, it is becoming more and more necessary to understand the space environments of bodies other than Earth. This is the background for an emerging aspect of the space weather discipline: planetary space weather. In this article, we explore what characterizes planetary space weather, using some examples throughout the solar system. We consider energy sources and timescales, the characteristics of solar system objects and interaction processes. We discuss several developments of space weather interactions including the effects on planetary radiation belts, atmospheric escape, habitability and effects on space systems. We discuss future considerations and conclude that planetary space weather will be of increasing importance for future planetary missions.
Pub.: 12 Nov '14, Pinned: 07 Aug '17
Abstract: With coordinated observations of the NOAA 15 satellite and OUL magnetometer station in Finland, we report that the electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves which were stimulated by the compression of the magnetosphere drive relativistic electron precipitation in geoquiescence on 1 Jan 2007. After an enhancement of solar wind dynamic pressure (SWDP), a dayside Pc1 pulsation was observed by the OUL station. Such a Pc1 pulsation is caused by an EMIC wave which propagates from the generation source to lower altitudes. Simultaneously, the NOAA 15 satellite registered an enhancement of precipitating electron count rates with energies >3 MeV within the anisotropic zone of protons. This phenomenon is coincident with the quasi-linear theoretical calculation presented in this paper. Our observations suggest that after a positive impulse of solar wind, the compression-related EMIC waves can drive relativistic electrons precipitation and play a pivotal role in the dynamic of radiation belts.
Pub.: 13 Nov '14, Pinned: 07 Aug '17
Abstract: The radiation belts are a key region located close to the Earth, where the satellites travel. They are located in the centre of the magnetosphere and constitute a region sensitive to the variations of magnetosphere activity. The magnetosphere is in equilibrium in the solar wind. If the solar wind parameters change, then, the magnetospheric balance is upset. Using several processes, particles and energy from the solar wind can enter it, disturbing the magnetosphere and the radiation belts. In this paper, the am index has been used to define a new parameter named Cm, which is indicative of the energy level in the magnetosphere. The impact of CIRs (Corotating Interaction region) and of CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejection) on the magnetosphere has been studied from the Cm point of view, as well as the reaction of the radiation belts to a solar wind disturbance. The results show that the Cm parameter provides a new perspective in space weather studies as it clearly shows that the energy level can be higher for a CIR than for a CME. It also demonstrates that the events with several solar wind structures are much more effective to increase the energy level in the magnetosphere than single ones. Finally, Cm correlates better with the radiation belts fluxes, showing again that Cm is a good indicator of the inner magnetosphere activity. Nevertheless, the energy level in the radiation belts is maximised and the energy level in this population cannot go above a given value which depends on the altitude. The particles coming from the plasmasheet also push the particles from the highest altitudes to the lower ones, allowing the slot filling for Cm> <Cm>.
Pub.: 15 Jul '16, Pinned: 07 Aug '17
Abstract: The CSES satellite, developed by Chinese (CNSA) and Italian (ASI) space Agencies, will investigate iono-magnetospheric disturbances (induced by seismicity and electromagnetic emissions of tropospheric and anthropogenic origin); will monitor the temporal stability of the inner Van Allen radiation belts and will study the solar-terrestrial coupling by measuring fluxes of cosmic rays and solar energetic particles. In particular the mission aims at confirming the existences (claimed from several analyses) of a temporal correlations between the occurrence of earthquakes and the observation in space of electromagnetic disturbances, plasma fluctiations and anomalous fluxes of high-energy particles precipitating from the inner Van Allen belt. CSES will be launched in the summer of 2017 with a multi-instruments payload able to measure: e.m. fields, charged particles, plasma, TEC, etc. The Italian LIMADOU collaboration will provide the High-Energy Particle Detector (HEPD), designed for detecting electrons (3–200 MeV) and proton (30–300 MeV)), and participates to develop the Electric Field Detector (EFD) conceived for measuring electric field from ∼DC up to 5 MHz.
Pub.: 30 Dec '16, Pinned: 07 Aug '17