The Wind Spacecraft As an Interplanetary Physics Experiment

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:25 PM
Justin Christophe Kasper, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
The Wind spacecraft was launched in the fall of 1994 to explore the nature of the solar wind and the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth. As the years have passed, and the rich datasets collected by the spacecraft have grown, the Wind mission has taken on an additional role as an interplanetary physics experiment, producing fundamental insights into processes in tenuous magnetized plasmas including kinetic instabilities, dissipation, heat flux, and heating. Results from Wind have helped us understand plasmas throughout the heliosphere, but they have also been applied to more exotic situations such as the accretion of matter onto black holes, and cooling of material within galaxy clusters. This talk will both highlight major recent results from Wind and examine the factors of the mission that have made this research possible. Beyond the sensitive statistical tests permitted by two decades of observations, Wind is equipped with a particularly diverse set of complementary instruments, permitting precise inter-calibration of observations and a detailed understanding of the nature of the solar wind that only improves with time.