Instrument Investigators Description Some Scientific Objectives

Radio and Plasma Wave Science

Principal Investigator: Donald Gurnett

University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy

Electric and magnetic fields are detected using tri-axis electric field antennas (three antennas each 10 meters in length), and tri-axis search coil magnetic antennas. Electron densities and temperatures are measured using the dedicated Langmuir probe, thermal and non-thermal plasma noise, and active sounder (density only). Frequency ranges covered are 1 Hz to 16 MHz (electric), and 1 Hz to 12.6 kHz (magnetic). Signals are processed to give amplitude, polarization, and direction of Arrival accurate to one degree. Study the configuration of Saturn's magnetic field and its relationship to Saturn Kilometric Radiation (SKR), monitor and map the sources of SKR.

Study daily variations in Saturn's ionosphere and search for outflowing plasma in the magnetic cusp region, study radio signals from lightning in Saturn's atmosphere, investigate Saturn Electric Discharges (SED). Many more objectives.

RPWS' most prominent feature is its 10-meter long tri-axis antennas that bristle in a "Y" shape on the +Y side of the spacecraft.

The RPWS Langmuir probe and magnetic search coils are mounted on the minus-X side of the spacecraft.

More on RPWS

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Science Instruments in the Basics of Space Flight