Exploring planetary plasma environments by laptop

3Dview_Mars_MarsExpress_MAVEN_BField_obs_simu_1280A new database of plasma simulations, combined with observational data and powerful visualisation tools, is providing planetary scientists with an unprecedented way to explore some of the Solar System’s most interesting plasma environments.

This digital space exploration story starts with the Integrated Medium for Planetary Exploration (IMPEx), a collaborative project to create a common data hub for space missions.

While planetary missions are crucial to understand how the solar wind interacts with the magnetospheres of planets and moons in our Solar System, numerical models are, in turn, essential to fully comprehend the measurements and improve our knowledge of planetary plasma environments. (…)

It was in this context that a group led by Ronan Modolo at the Laboratoire Atmosph√®res, Milieux, Observations Spatiales (LATMOS), in France, started developing a collection of plasma simulations at various planetary bodies. The Latmos Hybrid Simulation (LatHyS) database and its uses are presented in a new study published earlier this year in a special issue of Planetary and Space Science. (…)

“So far, celestial objects modelled by LatHyS simulations include Mars, Mercury and Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede,” explains Modolo. “We are planning to extend this database to other objects like Saturn’s moon Titan and, in the longer term, to other moons of Jupiter, like Europa or Callisto,” he adds…¬† [More at links]

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