National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: Status
Suggested Citation:"Ground-Based Techniques." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.
Suggested Citation:"Ground-Based Techniques." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

SPACE PLASMAS 103 TOOLS FOR SPACE PLASMA PHYSICS Space-Based Techniques The mainstay of progress in space plasma physics has been in situ and remote sensing experiments from space. They provide the means for systematically monitoring large regions of space plasma. The inability to distinguish space from time changes in measurements from a single spacecraft underlies the future thrust toward flying constellations of identically instrumented and electronically coordinated satellites to study a given phenomenon or a limited region of space. The success of such efforts will depend strongly on the implementation of self-contained "smart" electronics to facilitate real-time complementarity and software techniques for onboard selection, digestion, and compaction of the plethora of data from multiple sources. Active experiment techniques are used to create a controlled disturbance and study its effect on the environment. (See Figure 6.1.) Active experiments have a broad range of objectives. These include (1) simulation of natural processes occurring in space plasmas, (2) measurement of physical properties such as reaction rates of atmospheric constituents and collisional cross sections, (3) use of space as a laboratory without walls to study fundamental plasma physics, (4) probing the natural environment as is done in experiments tracing magnetic field lines by electron beams, and (5) improving communication systems by studying the propagation of electromagnetic waves. For the study of space plasma processes the attraction of active techniques is twofold: there is no need to wait for a phenomenon to occur naturally, and the source characteristics are known and can be controlled. In this way, active experiments are similar to laboratory experiments except that the former have the advantage that the space plasma for most purposes can be considered boundless. The disadvantage is that it is difficult to obtain measurements with high spatial resolution. To remedy this problem, multiplatform experiments have become more common in recent years. Ground-Based Techniques Although the magnetosphere is an enormous region in space, we benefit largely from the dipolar origin of the field, which causes all the geomagnetic field lines of the magnetosphere to intersect the Earth, and most of them in the polar regions. This focusing of field lines provides a tremendous benefit observationally because arrays of ground-based instrumentation are relatively inexpensive to deploy and operate and they can provide important correlative data as well as a global context within which to interpret satellite data. Ground-based data also provide a long-term database that permits understanding of the secular variations and changes in the solar-terrestrial "climate."


Next: Plasma Theory and Simulations »
Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $65.00 Buy Ebook | $54.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Plasma science is the study of ionized states of matter. This book discusses the field's potential contributions to society and recommends actions that would optimize those contributions. It includes an assessment of the field's scientific and technological status as well as a discussion of broad themes such as fundamental plasma experiments, theoretical and computational plasma research, and plasma science education.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!