An electron source such as a simple cathode is a cheap and light device which can serve several technological and scientific purposes in space: (1) electrostatic charging of a spacecraft can be limited by releasing electrons accumulated on the conductive elements of their surface; (2) the erosion of conductive coatings and the ability of conductive paints to withstand the space environment can be evaluated by monitoring the flow of charged particles impinging on their surface; (3) measuring the current collected by the spacecraft surface as a function of its potential with respect to an emitter is a very sensitive diagnostic technique which can yield a number of plasma parameters, such as density and temperature; (4) it is possible to convert the thermal motion of space plasmas into electrical energy by collecting energetic electrons and returning them to the medium as cold particles; (5) a wave in a plasma is characterized by a conduction current density which gives rise to fluctuations of the current flowing to the surface.
Spacecraft Charging Technol. Conference
- Pub Date:
- February 1977
- Aerospace Sciences;
- Aerospace Environments;
- Electrostatic Charge;
- Electronics and Electrical Engineering