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Hypervelocity Dust Trajectories Measured by the Dust Coordinate Sensor at IMPACT

William Goode
Delivered As: 
Abstract Text: 

The Dust Coordinate Sensor (DCS) is a dual-location instrument installed on the beamline of the of dust accelerator at the Institute for Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres and Cosmic Dust (IMPACT) at the University of Colorado. This instrument measures the individual trajectories of charged, hypervelocity (3-5 km/s), micron-sized dust particles while in flight. In order to calculate trajectories, DCS records the x-y coordinates of each particle at two locations along the beamline, 4 m apart. The coordinate measurements utilize the image charge induced by each dust particle as is passes through two 24 mm^2 grids of wire electrodes. The resulting peak voltages of each wire are measured by charge sensitive amplifiers (CSAs) and compared to a series of lookup tables (created using COULOMB simulations) via interpolation software in order to determine the x-y coordinate at each grid's location. The coordinate measurements are matched by timestamp with separate measurements of charge and velocity for each launched dust particle. Real-time information on individual particles' positions anywhere along the beamline as well as aggregate statistics such as beam width and position can thus be determined. Future applications of DCS will include studies of impact craters on a variety of targets; the DCS will enable one-to-one matching of individual craters with specific particle characteristics (mass, velocity), even in targets impacted by many particles in a given experiment.

Le Qiao, Lionel Wilson, Long Xiao, and Josef Dufek
SSERVI Identifier: 

Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."