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Full Particle-in-Cell Simulation Study on Magnetic Inflation Around a Magneto Plasma Sail

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6 Author(s)
Moritaka, T. ; Grad. Sch. of Eng., Kobe Univ., Kobe, Japan ; Usui, H. ; Nunami, M. ; Kajimura, Y.
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In order to consider a next-generation space propulsion system referred to as the “magneto plasma sail,” the magnetic inflation mechanism of a small artificial magnetosphere is investigated. We carry out a two-and-half-dimensional full particle-in-cell simulation, and magnetic inflation mediated by the gyration motion of injected ions is observed. As a result of the gyration motion, an ion-rich region is formed near the direction-reversal position of the injected ions. Magnetic inflation takes place due to the flow of electrons toward the ion-rich region, which carries the field lines of the original magnetosphere. This inflation process is effective for a magnetosphere with a scale comparable to the gyration radius of the injected ions. If the original magnetosphere is much smaller than this, background electrons flow into the ion-rich region outside the magnetosphere, and the inflated magnetosphere is confined to a smaller region. In addition, the thermal effects of background electrons have a similar impact on the inflation process, even if the direction-reversal position is located inside the magnetosphere.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 9 )