Elements of Tiny Plasma Spectrometers

Metadata Updated: July 17, 2020

We propose to advance major elements of a miniaturized plasma spectrometer for flight on future missions. This type of instrument has been developed and successfully flown before. In these cases the sensor was tiny but the supporting electronics were macroscopic (5kg, 5W) in terms of their physical resource requirements. There are both scientific and engineering motivations to develop tiny plasma spectrometer systems. This IRAD is focused on targeted miniature plasma spectrometer system element invention, development and TRL advancement.Elements of Tiny Plasma SpectrometersInternal Research [HTML_REMOVED] Development (IRAD)Introduction and ObjectivesThe need for electrostatic analyzers to measure ion and electron fluxes in near-Earth space is nearly ubiquitous in Heliophysics missions. In the latest example NASA[HTML_REMOVED]s MMS mission,[HTML_REMOVED] launched in March 2015, features fully 32 electron and 32 ion spectrometers. These plasma measurements are central to the vast majority of such missions. The ranges of fluxes and energies to be covered are extremely wide, in view of the wide variety of plasma conditions across the heliophysics realm. The GSFC Heliophysics Division enjoys a distinguished tradition of developing and flying these devices and is well placed to provide future leadership in this area.Extremely low physical resource instruments, suitable for example for flight on CubeSats, are in high and growing demand. Such minimal resource payloads may well comprise the elements of future constellations providing networks of observation points, as called for in both the current and past HPD roadmaps. Small constellations of larger spacecraft have been flown. NASA[HTML_REMOVED]s Themis [HTML_REMOVED] MMS and ESA[HTML_REMOVED]s Cluster are examples. Current small bus concepts require scientific instruments with phenomenally small physical resource requirements. Further, the kinetic electron distributions below 10 eV in Earth[HTML_REMOVED]s ionosphere are almost completely unexplored. Electron spectrometers in this energy range will only work if they are tiny, owing to the small scale gyro-motion of these low energy particles in the strong geomagnetic field at low altitudes. Yet these low energy electron kinetics are likely critical to both ionospheric plasma processes and chemistry. [HTML_REMOVED]The time to focus on resource minimization for workhorse plasma instruments is now!The overarching goal of this IRAD is to advance the TRL for elements of highly miniaturized top hat electrostatic analyzers to be built at Goddard for future missions, by designing, building and testing prototypes. The design elements targeted, all in miniature, are 1) the HVPS, 2) 1D microchannel plate 1D imaging, 4) a command and data handling (C[HTML_REMOVED]DH) card, 4) the instrument system, 5) extension of ESA energy range via enhanced tolerance of large electric fields and 6) accommodation on either a CubeSat or deployed from a larger spacecraft. We have detailed mechanical designs for an extremely small electrostatic analyzer, the Thermal Electron Capped Hemisphere Spectrometer (TECHS) [Pollock et al., 1996, 1998; Adrian, 2000]. This was developed, along with a relatively large and heavy electronics suite, for flight on the SCIFER sounding rocket in 1994 and the Japanese SS520-2 sounding rocket in 2002, with an attempt at a new (resistive) imaging system. The SCIFER flight was successful. On the Japanese rocket flight, the energy measurements worked well but no useful angular information was obtained. Therefore, we face several challenges in order to offer viable instrument concepts in this class for future missions. These challenges form the basis of the objectives listed below, which build on a previous IRAD (Pollock et al., FY2013). Though we list objectives associated with a multi-year program of IRAD (or HTIDeS) development, here we only address the first year objectives in this proposal:<

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date July 17, 2020

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Harvested from NASA Data.json

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Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date July 17, 2020
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_40635
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
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Metadata Catalog ID https://data.nasa.gov/data.json
Schema Version https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema
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Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2017-09-01
Homepage URL https://techport.nasa.gov/view/40635
Data Last Modified 2020-01-29
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 97005972dc2c1ed153bed4c0246c5cbff465a435
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