Colloquium: Ali Sulaiman on "A life in the day of outer solar-system exploration"

 A life in the day of outer solar-system exploration

Abstract: Jupiter and Saturn’s internal magnetic fields carve out a cavity in the interplanetary medium to form two of the largest magnetospheres in our solar system. Embedded within are geologically active moons continuously loading plasmas into their magnetospheres: Io’s volcanoes at Jupiter and Enceladus’ geysers at Saturn. These internally sourced plasmas interact with the surrounding planetary magnetic fields, giving rise to electrodynamic processes that drive the magnetospheric dynamics. One obvious manifestation is their powerful auroras. In 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft undertook the first polar orbits of Jupiter, and in 2017, NASA/ESA’s Cassini spacecraft performed its final orbits, which were highly inclined and adjusted to pass through the gap between Saturn’s atmosphere and innermost ring - both providing unprecedented coverage and proximity to their planets. Plasma and magnetic field measurements have proven to be critical in establishing how these planetary systems operate on a global scale (e.g. atmospheric coupling, rings, satellite, etc.) as well as understanding the fundamentals of space plasma processes in a parameter space vastly different from the near-Earth and inner heliosphere environment.  I will highlight past and present observations enabled by planetary explorers that have revolutionized our view of the solar system. Further, I will introduce the future ESA Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (set to launch in April 2023) and NASA Europa Clipper (launch 2024), as well as a proposed orbiter to the Uranus system, which was listed as the highest priority during in the 2023-2032 Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey.

Start date
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, 3:35 p.m.
End date
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, 4:35 p.m.

B50 Tate Hall