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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: October 2009

7 - Space Physics Instrumentation and Missions

Summary

Since the 1960s, instruments on Space Physics missions have changed and improved in many respects, but the basic physical parameters that we need to measure have remained the same. The requirement on any Space Physics mission is still to make measurements which are as extensive as possible of all the parameters of space plasmas: the distribution functions of all the constituents in the plasma populations; the DC and AC magnetic and electric fields; and the distribution functions of energetic particles species. All these parameters and distribution functions need to be measured with high spatial, directional and temporal resolution.

These lectures rely on extensive experience building magnetometers, energetic particle detectors, as well as on-board data processors and power supply and power management systems for space instruments. They provide an overview of the kind of instrumentation in which Europe has acquired considerable expertise over the years and which will be continued in future missions.

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