Contributed Talk - Splinter JungeAG

Monday, 12 September 2022, 15:50   (SFG 1010 / virtual JAG)

M5 – Mars Magnetospheric Multipoint Measurement Mission: A multi-spacecraft plasma physics mission to Mars

Cormac Larkin, on behalf of the M5 team

We propose the Mars Magnetospheric Multipoint Measurement Mission (M5), a multi-spacecraft mission to study the dynamics and energy transport of the Martian magnetosphere. Particular focus lies on the largely unexplored magnetotail region, where signatures of magnetic reconnection of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) have been found. Further, to study the dynamics of the Martian magnetosphere depending on the upstream solar wind conditions, knowledge of those is needed. Finally, to resolve the three-dimensional structure of the Martian magnetosphere and make use of multipoint data analysis techniques, multipoint measurements are required. As a result, M5 is a five spacecraft mission, with one solar wind monitor orbiting Mars in a circular orbit, and four smaller spacecraft in a tetrahedral configuration orbiting Mars in an elliptical orbit, spanning the far magnetotail up to 6 Mars radii. We present a detailed assessment not only of the scientific need for such a mission but also show the resulting mission and spacecraft design taking into account all aspects of systems engineering as well as spacecraft budgets like mass and data rate. Additionally, different aspects of the mission programmatics are discussed. The mission outlined in this abstract was developed during the ESA Alpbach Summer School 2022 on the topic of "Comparative Plasma Physics in the Universe''.