Joint Astrophysics/Space Physics Seminar
"Introduction to the Physics of the Grand Challenge Initiative – Cusp Rocket Program" by Professor Joran Idar Moen, Department of Physics, University of Oslo Norway
Abstract: The Grand Challenge Initiative – Cusp is a gigantic multi-rocket project that will be conducted in Svalbard and North Norway during the winters of 2018/19 and 2019/2020. This is a US, Japan and Norway collaborative effort that umbrellas 9 sounding rocket missions of altogether 11 rockets. GCI-Cusp is focused on dayside magnetopause reconnection and its coupling down to the cusp ionosphere, and the various impacts this have the upper polar atmosphere, including waves, instabilities, turbulence, heating processes, oxygen escape, and radio scintillation issues. The main part of the talk presents prioritized research by the 4DSpace research group at the University of Oslo. Our major goal is to explore the physical properties of plasma turbulence in the F-region cusp ionosphere. UiO will provide one sounding rocket in the GCI-Cusp project, that is the ICI-5 rocket (Investigation of cusp Irregularities), and we will contribute our multi-Needle Langmuir Probe (m-NLP) system to 1 JAXA rockets and 5 NASA rockets. We are developing a 4DSpace rocket experimental tool to uniquely discriminate between waves and turbulent plasma structures. This system will fly on G-CHASER (6 daughters) and on ICI-5 (12 daughters). The applied motivation for the 4DSpace research at UiO is to provide a basic understanding of the multi-scale processes that give rise to radio scintillations. It order to for example develop running space weather forecast models for GNSS scintillations, it is essential to explore the mesoscale drives, of the major instability processes involved, and to quantify the actual growth and decay rates of these processes under various conditions. I will review some of the recent results from the ICI-rocket program and related research, and at the end sum up with the research questions we will attack with GCI-Cusp. The project is open for new collaborations taking interests and may contribute to our effort.