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Quantifying Energy Circulation in Space Plasma (QUESPACE)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 31 Aug 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims to quantify energy circulation in space plasmas. Scientifically, energy transfer is a fundamental plasma physical problem having many applications in a variety of plasma environments ranging from coronal heating on the Sun to electric heating in the ionosphere. Technologically, understanding the plasma and energy transport properties is a step toward predictions of the space environment needed for spacecraft design and operations. The space physics community lacks an accurate and self-consistent numerical model capable of describing the global plasma system in particular in the inner magnetosphere, where major magnetic storms can cause serious damage to space-borne technology. The project has two goals: 1. Novel integration of observations from ESA’s four-spacecraft Cluster mission with simulation results to gain quantitative understanding of global energy transport properties in the near-Earth space; 2. Development of a new self-consistent global plasma simulation that describes multi-component and multi-temperature plasmas to resolve non-MHD processes that currently cannot be self-consistently described by the existing global plasma simulations. The new simulation methods are now feasible due to the increased computational capabilities. Our existing simulation environment and unique analysis methods have brought exciting new results on magnetospheric energy circulation. Seven years after launch, the Cluster database is now large enough to quantitatively assess these effects. The proposing team has a long record in observational research of global energetics and a world-leading role in developing global magnetospheric computer simulations.
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