3D Ion and Electron Distribution Function Measurements from the Fast Plasma Investigation on the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission
Thursday, 17 December 2015: 11:56
2018 (Moscone West)
The primary focus of the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, launched in March 2015, is magnetic reconnection and associated processes. Understanding hinges critically on the kinetic physics that allows reconnection to take place. The Fast Plasma Investigation (FPI) provides electron and ion distribution functions at 4.5s cadence and, for select periods of time, at cadences of 30ms for electrons and 150ms for ions. These select time periods are chosen after in situ acquisition based on inspection of the low resolution data. Thus the FPI provides, independent of spacecraft spin rate, the time resolution needed to resolve the small, fast-moving reconnection diffusion regions. The first mission phase focuses on the dayside magnetopause and this presentation is intended to demonstrate the capabilities of FPI to resolve the important spatial scales relevant to the reconnection process. Magnetopause and other boundary crossings will be examined and the phase-space trajectories identified at the tetrahedral satellite locations through analysis of the 3D distribution functions.