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The radiation impedance of electrodynamics tethers in a polar Jovian orbit
Sánchez-Torres, Antonio and Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón and Donoso Vargas, Jose Manuel and Charro, Mario
The radiation impedance of electrodynamics tethers in a polar Jovian orbit.
"Advances in space research", v. 45
Juno, the second mission in the NASA New Frontiers Program, will both be a polar Jovian orbiter, and use solar arrays for power, moving away from previous use of radioisotope power systems (RPSs) in spite of the weak solar light reaching Jupiter. The power generation at Jupiter is critical, and a conductive tether could be an alternative source of power. A current-carrying tether orbiting in a magnetized ionosphere/plasmasphere will radiate waves. A magnitude of interest for both power generation and signal emission is the wave impedance. Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field in the Solar Planetary System and its plasma density is low everywhere. This leads to an electron plasma frequency smaller than the electron cyclotron frequency, and a high Alfven velocity. Unlike the low Earth orbit
(LEO) case, the electron skin depth and the characteristic size of plasma contactors affect the Alfven impedance.
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