Variability of the plasma environment around Jupiter's icy moons

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


Why? The icy moons, Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa, are surrounded by a thin gas envelop which can be ionized. The composition of the induced plasma is a signature of the moon's surface composition and its density is linked to the neutral atmospheric source. The presence of this conductive layer plays a key role in the interaction of the moon with Jupiter's magnetosphere with moon's particularities (e.g., intrinsic magnetic field at Ganymede). This project is in support to ESA Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE).
The PhD project will focus on modeling the plasma environment around Jupiter's icy moons and study its variability. Voyager, Galileo and Earth-based observations will be used for constraining the gas sources. Some goals to be addressed include:
- How does Ganymede's intrinsic magnetic field influence the plasma environment?
- How variable in time and in space is the moon's conductivity? - How different is the conductivity at each moon? How does it influence the detection of the subsurface ocean?


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504336/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1708329 Studentship ST/N504336/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2019 Gianluca CARNIELLI
Description EPSC 2018 Bursary
Amount € 450 (EUR)
Organisation Europlanet 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country France
Start 09/2018 
End 09/2018
Description Financial assistance to attend EGU 2018 conference
Amount € 290 (EUR)
Organisation European Geosciences Union 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 04/2018 
End 04/2018
Description Collaboration on the development of a test particle model 
Organisation Sorbonne University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I developed the ionospheric model. I am also looking at how the results of the ionospheric model can be used to improve the exospheric and hybrid models on which it relies, in order to improve the models self-consistently.
Collaborator Contribution They helped in the development of the ionospheric model through discussions. We also discussed the results of the models together.
Impact Oral presentations at: EPSC 2017, 1st IUGG symposium in Berlin (2017), 1st British Planetary Science Congress in Glasgow (2017). Poster presentations at: EGU 2017, EGU 2018. Paper submitted to Icarus (under revision)
Start Year 2015
Description Outreach 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The outreach event was part of the "Imperial Fringe Festival" on Space Science. Lots of people attended and were amazed by the work we do. Another even took place at the Science museum, in conjunction with the return of Tim Peake from the ISS. The focus theme for that even was Rosetta, and people enjoyed it a lot.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016