The interaction of a flowing plasma with a dipole magnetic field: measurements and modelling of a diamagnetic cavity relevant to spacecraft protection

Bamford, R. and Gibson, K. J. and Thornton, A. J. and Bradford, J. and Bingham, R. and Gargate, L. and Silva, L. O. and Fonseca, R. A. and Hapgood, M. and Norberg, C. and Todd, T. and Stamper, R. (2008) The interaction of a flowing plasma with a dipole magnetic field: measurements and modelling of a diamagnetic cavity relevant to spacecraft protection. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 50 (12). ISSN 0741-3335

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Abstract

Here we describe a new experiment to test the shielding concept of a dipole-like magnetic field and plasma, surrounding a spacecraft forming a 'mini magnetosphere'. Initial laboratory experiments have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of a magnetized plasma barrier to be able to expel an impacting, low beta, supersonic flowing energetic plasma representing the solar wind. Optical and Langmuir probe data of the plasma density, the plasma flow velocity and the intensity of the dipole field clearly show the creation of a narrow transport barrier region and diamagnetic cavity virtually devoid of energetic plasma particles. This demonstrates the potential viability of being able to create a small 'hole' in a solar wind plasma, of the order of the ion Larmor orbit width, in which an inhabited spacecraft could reside in relative safety. The experimental results have been quantitatively compared with a 3D particle-in-cell 'hybrid' code simulation that uses kinetic ions and fluid electrons, showing good qualitative agreement and excellent quantitative agreement. Together the results demonstrate the pivotal role of particle kinetics in determining generic plasma transport barriers.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3100/3104
Subjects:
ID Code:
64339
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
07 May 2013 09:55
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 Sep 2020 01:48