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Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Simulations of the Solar Wind Interaction with Lunar Magnetic Anomalies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.
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2014 (English)In: Physical Review Letters, ISSN 0031-9007, Vol. 112, no 15, 151102- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present the first three-dimensional fully kinetic and electromagnetic simulations of the solar wind interaction with lunar crustal magnetic anomalies (LMAs). Using the implicit particle-in-cell code IPIC3D, we confirm that LMAs may indeed be strong enough to stand off the solar wind from directly impacting the lunar surface forming a mini-magnetosphere, as suggested by spacecraft observations and theory. In contrast to earlier magnetohydrodynamics and hybrid simulations, the fully kinetic nature of IPIC3D allows us to investigate the space charge effects and in particular the electron dynamics dominating the near-surface lunar plasma environment. We describe for the first time the interaction of a dipole model centered just below the lunar surface under plasma conditions such that only the electron population is magnetized. The fully kinetic treatment identifies electromagnetic modes that alter the magnetic field at scales determined by the electron physics. Driven by strong pressure anisotropies, the mini-magnetosphere is unstable over time, leading to only temporal shielding of the surface underneath. Future human exploration as well as lunar science in general therefore hinges on a better understanding of LMAs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 112, no 15, 151102- p.
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-225017DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.151102ISI: 000334597300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-225017DiVA: diva2:719568
Available from: 2014-05-26 Created: 2014-05-26 Last updated: 2014-05-26Bibliographically approved

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Divin, Andrey
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Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division
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