Surface-Plasma-Exosphere Coupling at the Moon, Phobos & Deimos, and the outer planet satellites
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 2:10 PM
Airless bodies throughout the solar system are directly exposed to ambient plasmas and also typically have surface-bounded neutral exospheres due to a combination of charged particle sputtering, micrometeoroid bombardment, and thermal and photon-stimulated desorption. The production and ionization of these neutrals and their subsequent interaction with electric and magnetic fields couples the neutral exosphere with the ambient plasma. In this talk, we highlight a number of recent results that have elucidated the couplings between surfaces, plasmas, and neutral exospheres of airless bodies, including observations at the Moon by the ARTEMIS mission of exospheric pick-up ion interaction with surface electrostatic fields, the role of lunar crustal magnetic anomalies in generating anisotropies in the lunar exosphere, and the role that escaping planetary heavy ions from Mars have in sputtering the surfaces of Phobos and Deimos. We also discuss the potential implications of these results to the satellites of the outer planets.