The Atmosphere-Space Transition Region Explorer (ASTRE) -- Using in situ Measurements on a Low Perigee Satellite to Understand How the Upper Atmosphere and Magnetosphere are Coupled
To achieve its science objectives, ASTRE will gather accurate measurements of plasma and neutral gases, electric and magnetic fields, and energetic particles using well-proven instruments with excellent flight heritage. ASTRE is a single, three-axis stabilized satellite that uses on-board propulsion to carry out systematic, low perigee excursions at high latitudes. The mission is highly synergistic with NASA and NSF funded programs that seek to understand not only ion-neutral coupling processes but also how magnetosphere sources of energy and momentum couple with the upper atmosphere. Deep dipping on Mars by similar instruments on the MAVEN satellite have revolutionized our understanding of the martian ionosphere-thermosphere system and we can expect equally ground-breaking results from ASTRE’s measurements within the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
This talk provides an overview of the scientific motivation and implementation plan of the ASTRE mission.