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A review of electrodynamic tethers for science applications.
Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón
A review of electrodynamic tethers for science applications..
"Plasma Source Science Thecnology", v. 19
A bare electrodynamic tether (EDT) is a conductive thin wire or tape tens of kilometres long, which is kept taut in space by gravity gradient or spinning, and is left bare of insulation to collect (and carry) current as a cylindrical Langmuir probe in an ambient magnetized plasma. An EDT is a probe in mesothermal flow at highly positive (or negative) bias, with a large or extremely large 2D sheath, which may show effects from the magnetic self-field of its current and have electrons adiabatically trapped in its ram front. Beyond technical applications ranging from propellantless propulsion to power generation in orbit, EDTs allow broad scientific uses such as generating electron beams and artificial auroras, exciting Alfven waves and whistlers, modifying the radiation belts and exploring interplanetary space and the Jovian magnetosphere. Asymptotic analysis, numerical simulations, ground and space tests and past and planned missions on EDTs are briefly reviewed.
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