Journal Article Small sensor probe for measuring plasma waves in space Space science

Zushi, Takahiro  ,  Kojima, Hirotsugu  ,  Onishi, Keisuke  ,  Ozaki, Mitsunori  ,  Yagitani, Satoshi  ,  Shimizu, Satoru  ,  Yamakawa, Hiroshi

672015-08-14 , SpringerOpen
Background: Since conventional one-point observations of plasma phenomena in space cannot distinguish between time and spatial variations, the missions on the basis of multiple-point observations have become the trend. We propose a new system for multiple-point observation referred to as the monitor system for space electromagnetic environments (MSEE). Findings: The MSEE consists of small sensor probes that have a capability to measure electromagnetic waves and transfer received data to the central station through wireless communication. We developed the prototype model of the MSEE sensor probe. The sensor probe includes a plasma wave receiver, the microcontroller, the wireless communication module, and the battery in the 75-mm cubic housing. In addition, loop antennas, dipole antennas, and actuators that are used for expanding dipole antennas are attached on the housing. The whole mass of the sensor probe is 692 g, and the total power consumption is 462 mW. The sensor probe can work with both inner battery and external power supply. The maximum continuous operation time on battery power is more than 6 h. We verified the total performance for electric field measurements by inputting signal to preamplifier. In this test, we found that analog components had enough characteristics to measure electric fields, and the A/D conversion and the wireless transmission worked correctly. In the whole performance for electric fields, the sensor probe has equivalent noise level of - 135 dBV/m/√Hz. Conclusions: We succeed in developing the prototype model of the small sensor probe that had enough sensitivity for electric field to measure plasma waves and the ability to transfer observation data through wireless communication. The success in developing the small sensor probe for the measurement of plasma waves leads to the realization of the multiple-point observations using a lot of small probes scattered in space.

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