ANR Jeune Chercheur SPECTRA

SPECTRA is a 42-month research project at the boundary between space physics and plasma physics, based on the scientific exploitation of in situ measurements obtained with ESA's Rosetta space exploration mission.

Its goal is to study the structure, evolution and dynamics of a comet’s ionized environment.

In this context, the SPECTRA project focuses on four fundamental issues associated with space plasma physics:

1. The interaction between the Sun and the solar wind and a non-magnetized object in the solar system,

2. The structure, evolution and dynamics of a cometary atmosphere and its link to cometary physico-chemistry,

3. The influence of collisions on the ionized environment of a comet,

4. The influence of spacecraft probe-plasma interactions on the behaviour of space instruments.

The SPECTRA project is structured around five complementary tasks. Modelling the instrumental response of the MIP instrument (Task 1) to produce accurate estimates of the density (and better temperature constraints) of cometary electrons. These in situ measurements, combined with observations from other RPC instruments, will form the basis for plasma physics studies (Task 2), as well as space physics and planetology studies focused on characterizing the Sun-Comet interaction (Task 3) and comet ionosphere (Task 4), and associated dynamics. Modelling the instrumental behaviour of a mutual impedance probe under conditions typical of space plasmas will best prepare the scientific exploitation of future space missions that will carry the same kind of instruments (Task 5).

The ANR has enabled a doctoral student and a post-doctoral researcher to strengthen the study of planetary plasmas, the exploitation of Rosetta’s plasma data and the preparation for the scientific exploitation of future space missions, in particular BepiColombo and JUICE.


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