In the early 90s, complex plasma terrestrial magnetosphere phenomena (e.g. radiation belts, magnetic reconnection, geomagnetic storms, the aurora) had been roughly characterized but neither the connections between them nor the processes driving them were understood. Progress was stalled because in situ plasma measurements from single spacecraft could not distinguish spatial from temporal variations. Multi-spacecraft missions after 2000 (Cluster II, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes, and MMS) have revolutionized our understanding of the causes, patterns and variability of a wide array of plasma phenomena. ESCAPADE is a twin-spacecraft Mars mission concept that will similarly revolutionize our understanding of how solar wind momentum and energy flows throughout Mars' magnetosphere to drive ion and sputtering escape, two processes which have helped shape Mars' climate evolution over solar system history.ESCAPADE will measure magnetic field strength and topology, ion plasma distributions (separated into light and heavy masses), as well as suprathermal electron flows and thermal electron and ion densities, from elliptical, 200 km x 8000 km orbits. ESCAPADE are small spacecraft (<90 kg), traveling to Mars via solar electric propulsion as a rideshare with the Psyche metal-asteroid mission in 2022, matching Mars' heliocentric orbit until capture and spiraling down to science orbits. ESCAPADE's strategically-designed 1-year, 2-part scientific campaign of temporally and spatially-separated multipoint measurements in different parts of Mars' diverse plasma environment (including the upstream solar wind), supported by comprehensive global plasma modeling, will allow the cause-and-effect of solar wind control of ion and sputtering escape to be unraveled for the first time. ESCAPADE will build on MAVEN's legacy for a small fraction of the cost. Figure 1 shows ESCAPADE's orbits within a hybrid simulation of the solar wind interaction with Mars, where the color scale represents ion velocity, blue lines are magnetic field, while white lines are sample proton trajectories and spacecraft orbits.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2018
- 6297 Instruments and techniques;
- PLANETARY SCIENCES: SOLAR SYSTEM OBJECTS