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Two types of rocket-borne probes are described for detecting charged aerosol particles in the ionosphere. The first are flat charge-collecting surfaces on the skin of the rockets that have returned data in four experimental campaigns. The collection surfaces have permanent magnets behind them that shield the probes from electrons. Some of the probes also have an electrical bias to repel light, positive ions. The current that is recorded is thus from heavier charged aerosol particles. This heavy charge carrier current is converted to a charge number density. The second type of probe, under development, is an electrostatic mass analyzer in which different ranges of mass are collected within the payload on surfaces with different bias potentials.
Date of Publication: April 2004