Imperial College Space Physics Rolling Grant

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics

Abstract

The research to be carried out in our rolling grant programme focuses on the physics of the heliosphere, fundamental space physics and planetary physics. This is all underpinned by our instrument development work, enabling us to design and build space instrumentation. The measurements made by our instruments allow us to interpret and understand different space environments. Observing plasma processes out in space provides us with a way to study the fundamental processes that occur in both laboratory plasmas and astrophysical ones which are not as easy to measure. We will learn what the implications are on our climate in response to the weakest solar minimum period we have had in recent history. We will understand how Coronal Mass Ejections evolve as they travel through interplanetary space and learn to forecast better what affect they will have on us on Earth. In Fundamental Space Physics we will better understand collisionless plasmas of which interplanetary space, the region around the Earth and other planets in our solar system, are prime examples. To do this we will focus on some of the underlying key physical processes that drive the dynamics of these regions, such as turbulence and shock physics. In Planetary Physics we will focus on understanding better the different physical processes which arise in Saturn's magnetosphere: is most of the energy derived from the fast rotation of the planet; or does the solar wind have a critical role to play as well? We will resolve how Titan's atmosphere changes with time and what it is made of, which will allow us to gain a better understanding of how our own atmosphere has changed from its initial formation. By observing how some of the small icy moons of Saturn interact with the environment around them we will understand how material is outgassed from their surface and then link this to cometary outgassing and the changes that occur as the orbit of the comet changes around the Sun. The new instruments we will develop will enable us to fly low mass and low power sensors on numerous upcoming spacecraft missions. We will also develop much smaller magnetometer instruments which can be flown on balloons, landers and penetrators. These vehicles are linked to plans to study the atmospheres and surfaces of many different solar system bodies, such as our Moon, as well as moons in the outer solar system like Europa, Ganymede, Titan or Enceladus.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Numerous high profile papers published, including in Science and Nature
Exploitation Route Enable others understanding of scientific questions
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education

 
Description the success of our science return from instrument building means we are routinely approached by industry for collaboration in new missions
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Arizona 
Organisation University of Arizona
Department Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of Titan simulation code
Collaborator Contribution Science expertise
Impact Yelle, R. V., D. S. Snowden, and I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg (2014), Titan's upper atmosphere: thermal structure, dynamics, and energetics, in: "Titan - Interior, Surface, Atmosphere, and Space Environment", I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg, C. A. Griffith, E. Lellouch, and T. E. Cravens (Eds.), Cambridge University Press, New York. Cui, J., R. V. Yelle, D. F. Strobel, I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg, D. Snowden, T. T. Koskinen, and M. Galand (2012), The CH4 structure in Titan's upper atmosphere revisited, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2012JE004222. Cui, J., M. Galand, R.V. Yelle, V. Vuitton, J.E. Wahlund, P.P. Lavvas, I.C.F. Müller-Wodarg, T. E. Cravens, W.T. Kasprzak, and J.H. Waite Jr. (2009), Diurnal variations of Titan's ionosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 114, A06310, doi:10.1029/2009JA014228. Cui, J., R.V. Yelle, V. Vuitton, J.H. Waite Jr., W.T. Kasprzak, D.A. Gell, H.B. Niemann, I.C.F. Mueller-Wodarg, N. Borggren, G.G. Fletcher, E.L. Patrick, E. Raaen, B.A. Magee (2009), Analysis of Titan's neutral upper atmosphere from Cassini Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer measurements, Icarus, 200, 581-615, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.12.005 Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., Yelle, R., J. Cui, and J. H. Waite (2008), Horizontal structures and dynamics of Titan's thermosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E10005, doi:10.1029/2007JE003033. Yelle, R., J. Cui, and I. C.F. Mueller-Wodarg (2008), Methane escape from Titan's atmosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E10003, doi:10.1029/2007JE003031. Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., R. V. Yelle, N. Borggren, and J. H. Waite (2006), Waves and horizontal structures in Titan's thermosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 111, A12315, doi:10.1029/2006JA011961. Yelle, R. V., N. Borggren, V. de la Haye, W. T. Kasprzak, H. B. Niemann, I. Mueller-Wodarg, and J. H. Waite Jr. (2006), The vertical structure of Titan's upper atmosphere from Cassini Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer measurements, Icarus, 182, 567-576. Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., R. V. Yelle, M. Mendillo, and A. D. Aylward (2003), On the global distribution of neutral gases in Titan's upper atmosphere and its effect on the thermal structure, J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 108 (A12) 1453, doi:10.1029/2003JA010054. Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., and R. V. Yelle (2002), The effect of Dynamics on the Composition of Titan's Upper Atmosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 29, No. 23, 54-1 - 54-4, doi: 10.1029/2002GL016100. Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., R. V. Yelle, M. Mendillo, L. A. Young, and A. D. Aylward (2000), The Thermosphere of Titan Simulated by a Global 3-Dimensional Time-Dependent Model , J.Geophys.Res., 105, 20833-20856.
 
Description BU 
Organisation Boston University
Department Centre for Space Physics
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of essential simulation code
Collaborator Contribution Development of components used in my model; Science expertise
Impact Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., L. Moore, M. Galand, S. Miller, and M. Mendillo (2012), Magnetosphere-Atmosphere Coupling at Saturn: 1. Response of Thermosphere and Ionosphere to Steady State Polar Forcing, Icarus, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2012.08.034 Moore, L., G. Fischer, I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg, M. Galand, and M. Mendillo (2012), Diurnal Variation of Electron Density in the Saturn Ionosphere: Model Comparisons with Saturn Electrostatic Discharge (SED) Observations, Icarus, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2012.08.010 Galand, M., L. Moore, I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg, M. Mendillo, and S. Miller (2011), Response of Saturn's auroral ionosphere to electron precipitation: electron density, electron temperature, and electrical conductivity, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2010JA016412. Moore, L., I. Mueller-Wodarg, M. Galand, A. Kliore, and M. Mendillo (2010), Latitudinal variations in Saturn's ionosphere: Cassini measurements and model comparisons, J. Geophys. Res., 115, A11317, doi:10.1029/2010JA015692. Moore L., M. Galand, I. Müller-Wodarg, and M. Mendillo (2009), Response of Saturn's Ionosphere to Solar Radiation: Testing Parameterizations for Thermal Electron Heating and Secondary Ionization Processes, Planet. Space Sci., 57, 1699-1705, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2009.05.001 Moore, L., M. Galand, I. Mueller-Wodarg, R. Yelle, and M. Mendillo (2008), Plasma temperatures in Saturn's ionosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 113, A10306, doi:10.1029/2008JA013373. Mueller-Wodarg, I. C. F., M. Mendillo, R. V. Yelle, and A. D. Aylward (2006), A global circulation model of Saturn's thermosphere, Icarus, 180, 147-160. Mendillo, M. L. E. Moore, J. Clarke, I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg, and W. Kurth (2005), Effects of ring shadowing on the detection of electrostatic discharges at Saturn, Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L05107, doi:10.1029/2004GL021934. Moore, L. E., M. Mendillo, I. C. F. Mueller-Wodarg, and D. L. Murr (2004), Modeling of global variations and ring shadowing in Saturn's ionosphere, Icarus, 172, 503-52.
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation Braunschweig University of Technology
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA)
Department Wigner Research Centre for Physics
Country Hungary 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation Johns Hopkins University
Department Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Goddard Space Flight Center
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation University of Arizona
Department Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation University of Colorado Boulder
Department Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation University of Iowa
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description Cassini Magnetometer Team 
Organisation University of Michigan
Department Space Research Building (SRB)
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator of the Cassini Magnetometer Team
Collaborator Contribution helped to build the instruments, and science collaboration
Impact Numerous high profile research papers based on Cassini data, and a working instrument still flying on Cassini
 
Description IRF Uppsala 
Organisation Uppsala University
Department Department of Physics and Astronomy
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Simulations of ionospheres and plasma environment
Collaborator Contribution Science expertise & instrument collaboration
Impact Wahlund J.-E., M. Galand, I. Müller-Wodarg, J. Cui, R.V. Yelle, F.J. Crary, K. Mandth, B. Magee, J.H. Waite Jr., D.T. Yung, A.J. Coates, P. Garnier, K. Ågren, M. André, A.I. Eriksson, T.E. Cravens, V. Vuitton, D.A. Gurnett, and W.S. Kurth (2009), On the amount of heavy molecular ions in Titan's ionosphere, Planet. Space Sci., 57, 1857-1865, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2009.07.014 Ågren, K., J.-E. Wahlund, P. Garnier, R. Modolo, J. Cui, M. Galand, and I. Mueller-Wodarg (2009), The ionospheric structure of Titan, Planet. Sp. Sci, 57,1821-1827, doi: 10.1016/j.pss.2009.04.012. Rosenqvist, L., J.-E. Wahlund, K. Ågren, R. Modolo, H.J. Opgenoorth, D. Strobel, I. Mueller-Wodarg, P. Garnier, and C. Bertucci (2009), Titan ionospheric conductivities from Cassini measurements, Planet. Sp. Sci, 57, 1828-1833, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2009.01.007. Ågren, K., J.-E. Wahlund, R. Modolo, D. Lummerzheim, M. Galand, I. Müller-Wodarg, P. Canu, W. S. Kurth, T. Cravens, R. Yelle, J. H. Waite Jr., A. Coates, G. Lewis, D. Young, C. Bertucci, M. K. Dougherty, On magnetospheric electron impact ionisation and dynamics in Titan's ram-side & polar ionosphere - a Cassini case study, Annal. Geophys., 25 (11), 2007. Wahlund, J.-E. R. Boström, G. Gustafsson, D. A. Gurnett, W. S. Kurth, A. Pedersen, T. F. Averkamp, G. B. Hospodarsky, A. M. Persson, P. Canu, F. M. Neubauer, M. K. Dougherty, A. I. Eriksson, M. W. Morooka, R. Gill, M. André, L. Eliasson, and I. Mueller-Wodarg, (2005), Cassini Measurements of Cold Plasma in the Ionosphere of Titan, Science, 308, 986-989.
 
Description Plasma turbulence science 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Department Laboratory for Space Science and Astrophysical Instrumentation
Country France 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Data analysis and theoretical input, exchange of ideas and scientific analysis
Collaborator Contribution Theoretical and data input
Impact Scientific papers
 
Description Plasma turbulence science 
Organisation Stony Brook University
Department C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data analysis and theoretical input, exchange of ideas and scientific analysis
Collaborator Contribution Theoretical and data input
Impact Scientific papers
 
Description Plasma turbulence science 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data analysis and theoretical input, exchange of ideas and scientific analysis
Collaborator Contribution Theoretical and data input
Impact Scientific papers
 
Title Magnetoresistive Magnetometer for Spacecraft Attitude Determination 
Description Magnetoresistive magnetometer (see also Brown et al., 2012) developed by Imperial College for space science applications on small satellites such as CubeSats also has application as an attitude-determining sensor for LEO satellites and hence has commercial value. The Space and Atmospheric Physics group of Imperial College London has, through Imperial Innovations Ltd, licensed the magnetometer sensor and its associated electronics Satellite Services Ltd of Portsmouth, UK, who are marketing the device to commercial satellite builders. 
IP Reference  
Protection Protection not required
Year Protection Granted
Licensed Yes
Impact In addition to its commercial use as an attitude sensor (for which Satellite Services Ltd has sold several units), the device has also flown as a science-instrument onboard the US CubeSat 'CINEMA' and two south-Korean CubeSats.
 
Description "The Sun: Living With Our Star" exhibition at Science Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Imperial College engaged actively with the Science Museum during the development of their new exhibition on the Sun, providing advice and support. Solar Orbiter is featured prominently in this exhibition and it includes footage of an interivew with Helen O'Brien, magnetometer instrument manager, as well as a physical engineering model of the magnetic field sensor that will fly on the spacecraft. This exhibition will tour following the end of its run in London in 2019. Detailed analytics on public impact will be available at a later date.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/the-sun-living-with-our-star