Planetary Plasma Environment
The research group “Planetary Plasma Environment” investigates neutral and charged particles in the vicinity of planets and their moons, including the interaction of surfaces/atmospheres/exospheres and the magnetic fields of planets or moons with the surrounding plasma (solar wind or magnetosphere) in detail.
The group uses particle and field data obtained by instruments onboard currently operating and retired spacecraft which orbit (or have orbited) Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. To this end, the research group have participated in the space missions Cluster, MMS, Mars Express, MAVEN, Galileo, Juno and Cassini. For the future, data from ESA’s mission BepiColombo, which is en-route to Mercury, are expected as well as from ESA’s mission JUICE and NASA’s Europa Clipper, both targeting the Jovian system. The group also uses the output of numerical simulations of the plasma environment of moons and planets to support those measurements. In addition, the group studies the dust distribution in interplanetary space, in particular in cometary dust trails, and interstellar dust in the Solar System.