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2 November 1998 Low-weight plasma instrument to be used in the inner heliosphere
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In the proposed Mercury-Messenger mission, a satellite will approach the Sun to a distance of around 0.3 AU. A plasma instrument to be flown on this satellite provides a unique possibility to probe the inner heliosphere in a distance range which has previously only been investigated by the Helios missions. In addition, in situ observations of the low-energy ions in the Mercury magnetosphere can be performed for the first time. In some phase of the orbit pick-up ions from Mercury are also expected to be detected. Because of the tight mass constraints on this mission, a new low-weight plasma instrument FIPS was developed which is particularly suited for this near-solar plasma environment. It is a combination of an electrostatic deflection system and a linear time-of-flight system. Using numerical simulations we demonstrate the properties of this design and discuss possible applications.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Thomas H. Zurbuchen, George Gloeckler, Jeff C. Cain, S. E. Lasley, and W. Shanks "Low-weight plasma instrument to be used in the inner heliosphere", Proc. SPIE 3442, Missions to the Sun II, (2 November 1998);


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