Astrophysics/Space Physics Seminar - Robert W. Ebert, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institute, The University of Texas at San Antonio
"Small Satellites, Big Returns? Mission Concepts for Magnetospheric Science Investigations at Jupiter and Mars" by Robert W. Ebert, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institutes, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Abstract: NASA has expressed an interest in flying small satellites (SmallSats) on all future large-class planetary science and heliophysics missions. To advance this effort, NASA has recently funded a number of SmallSat mission concept studies and has provided flight opportunities through several programs. Here, two mission concepts are presented, the JUpiter MagnetosPheric boundary ExploreR (JUMPER) and the Solar wind Observations at ARes (SOAR), which study solar wind-magnetosphere interactions at Jupiter and Mars, respectfully, through in situ plasma and magnetic field observations and remote sensing of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs). JUMPER was selected for mission concept development through NASA’s Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies program while SOAR was submitted as a proposal to NASA’s SIMPLEx program and is currently under review. In this presentation, the science investigation and technical details of the JUMPER mission will be discussed along with a brief overview of the SOAR mission. We will describe some of the development requirements and technical challenges that should be addressed to facilitate the implementation of SmallSats for planetary science and heliophysics missions. We will conclude with a discussion of future mission opportunities and with a summary of my instrument and mission development experience.