Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Previously hidden low-energy ions: a better map of near-Earth space and the terrestrial mass balance
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.
2015 (English)In: Physica Scripta, ISSN 0031-8949, E-ISSN 1402-4896, Vol. 90, no 12, 128005Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

This is a review of the mass balance of planet Earth, intended also for scientists not usually working with space physics or geophysics. The discussion includes both outflow of ions and neutrals from the ionosphere and upper atmosphere, and the inflow of meteoroids and larger objects. The focus is on ions with energies less than tens of eV originating from the ionosphere. Positive low-energy ions are complicated to detect onboard sunlit spacecraft at higher altitudes, which often become positively charged to several tens of volts. We have invented a technique to observe low-energy ions based on the detection of the wake behind a charged spacecraft in a supersonic ion flow. We find that low-energy ions usually dominate the ion density and the outward flux in large volumes in the magnetosphere. The global outflow is of the order of 10(26) ions s(-1). This is a significant fraction of the total number outflow of particles from Earth, and changes plasma processes in near-Earth space. We compare order of magnitude estimates of the mass outflow and inflow for planet Earth and find that they are similar, at around 1 kg s(-1) (30 000 ton yr(-1)). We briefly discuss atmospheric and ionospheric outflow from other planets and the connection to evolution of extraterrestrial life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 90, no 12, 128005
Keyword [en]
low-energy ions, atmospheric outflow, terrestrial mass balance
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274299DOI: 10.1088/0031-8949/90/12/128005ISI: 000366871600016OAI: diva2:896246
Swedish National Space Board
Available from: 2016-01-20 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2016-01-20Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(880 kB)28 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 880 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
André, Mats
By organisation
Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division
In the same journal
Physica Scripta
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 28 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 53 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link