Topic/Type: 1.6 Plasma-based devices, Poster

Full PIC simulation study on magnetic inflation around a magneto plasma sail (MPS)

T.Moritaka1, 6, H.Usui1, 6, M.Nunami2, 6, Y.Kajimura3, 6, M.Nakamura4, 6, M.Matsumoto5, 6

1 Kobe University, Kobe, Japan
2 National Institute for Fusion Science, Toki, Japan
3 Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
4 Osaka Prefecture University, Osaka, Japan
5 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Japan
6 Japan Science and Technology Agency, CREST

Magneto Plasma Sail (MPS) is one of the next-generation space propulsion system. The propulsive force is obtained from the interaction between the solar wind and a small-scale magnetosphere, which is created around the spacecraft by superconducting coils. The inflation of the magnetosphere by means of the plasma injection from the spacecraft has been proposed for the effective propulsive force[1]. The spatial scale of the required magnetosphere is comparable to the ion inertia length in the solar wind or less. Kinetic effects of electrons as well as that of ions may have some impacts on the inflation process via the charge separation and the finite Larmor orbit effects in the steep magnetic field at the vicinity of the coils.

Interactions among the magnetosphere, the solar wind and the injected plasmas are investigated including the electron dynamics by using 2+1/2 dimensional full PIC simulation code. It is demonstrated that the out-of-plane current density is generated in the magnetosphere by the injected ions and electrons. This current density tends to enhance the original magnetic field. At the same time, the charge separation structure is found in the entire magnetosphere. We will discuss the influences of these microscopic processes on the magnetic inflation and the MPS thrust.

[1] R.M.Winglee et al, J.Geophys.Res., 105, 21067 (2000)