A Case for Electron-Astrophysics

Verscharen, Daniel, Wicks, Robert, Alexandrova, Olga, Bruno, Roberto, Burgess, David, Chen, Christopher H. K., D’Amicis, Raffaella, De Keyser, Johan, de Wit, Thierry Dudok, Franci, Luca, He, Jiansen, Henri, Pierre, Kasahara, Satoshi, Khotyaintsev, Yuri, Klein, Kristopher G., Lavraud, Benoit, Maruca, Bennett A., Maksimovic, Milan, Plaschke, Ferdinand, Poedts, Stefaan, Reynolds, Christopher S., Roberts, Owen, Sahraoui, Fouad, Saito, Shinji, Salem, Chadi S., Saur, Joachim, Servidio, Sergio, Stawarz, Julia E., Štverák, Štěpán and Told, Daniel (2022) A Case for Electron-Astrophysics. Experimental Astronomy, 54 (2). pp. 473-519. ISSN 0922-6435

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10686-021-09761-5


The smallest characteristic scales, at which electron dynamics determines the plasma behaviour, are the next frontier in space and astrophysical plasma research. The analysis of astrophysical processes at these scales lies at the heart of the research theme of electron-astrophysics. Electron scales are the ultimate bottleneck for dissipation of plasma turbulence, which is a fundamental process not understood in the electron-kinetic regime. In addition, plasma electrons often play an important role for the spatial transfer of thermal energy due to the high heat flux associated with their velocity distribution. The regulation of this electron heat flux is likewise not understood. By focussing on these and other fundamental electron processes, the research theme of electron-astrophysics links outstanding science questions of great importance to the fields of space physics, astrophysics, and laboratory plasma physics. In this White Paper, submitted to ESA in response to the Voyage 2050 call, we review a selection of these outstanding questions, discuss their importance, and present a roadmap for answering them through novel space-mission concepts.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: European Research Council (ERC): Horizon 2020 project DISKtoHALO (grant 834203). Funding Information: D.V. is supported by STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship ST/P003826/1 and STFC Consolidated Grant ST/S000240/1. D.B., C.H.K.C., and L.F. are supported by STFC Consolidated Grant ST/T00018X/1. C.H.K.C. is also supported by STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship ST/N003748/2. J.D.K. acknowledges support by the Belgian Science Policy Office. K.G.K. is supported by NASA Grant 80NSSC19K0912 and DOE Grant DE-SC0020132. C.S.R. is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (project DISKtoHALO, grant 834203). J.E.S. is supported by STFC Consolidated Grant ST/S000364/1 and Royal Society University Research Fellowship URF\R1\201286. Funding Information: UK Science and Technology Facilities Council: Ernest Rutherford Fellowship ST/P003826/1, Ernest Rutherford Fellowship ST/N003748/2, Consolidated Grant ST/S000240/1, Consolidated Grant ST/T00018X/1, Consolidated Grant ST/S000364/1.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electrons, plasma astrophysics, solar wind, space missions, space plasma, Voyage 2050
Subjects: F300 Physics
F500 Astronomy
F900 Others in Physical Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2021 14:51
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2023 11:30
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46838

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