Research Topic

Active Experiments in Space: Past, Present, and Future

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There is a rich history of space active experiments dating back to the 1960s. These experiments began early in the space age, where it became clear that the space environment was filled with plasma and could be rather harsh to astronauts and infrastructure. Active space experiments have had the triple goal of ...

There is a rich history of space active experiments dating back to the 1960s. These experiments began early in the space age, where it became clear that the space environment was filled with plasma and could be rather harsh to astronauts and infrastructure. Active space experiments have had the triple goal of (1) probing basic plasma physics phenomena, (2) elucidating aspects of magnetospheric and ionospheric physics, and (3) understanding how to control the effects of the environment on space assets. Bombs, beams, heaters, releases, chemical dumps, plasma plumes, tethers, antennas, voltages are examples of active experiments spanning several decades of research. More recently, further interest towards active experiments in space has arisen, as called for in the 2012 Decadal Survey of the National Research Council, driven by important scientific applications such as magnetosphere/ionosphere coupling or radiation belt remediation.

This Research Topic solicits contributions from researchers involved in space active experiments in an attempt to provide an historical and technical perspective that could connect works on past, present and future active experiments and serve as a reference for the field.

It is centered around the following questions:

1. What have we learned from active experiments?
2. What is the current state of active experiments?
3. What are new opportunities for active experiments?
4. What are the most compelling science questions that can only be answered with active experiments?

We welcome contributions across the whole spectrum of active experiments, including works targeting

• basic plasma physics,
• wave-particle and wave-wave interactions,
• electron beams, antennas, chemical releases, tethers
• new technological developments enabling active experiments
• ionospheric modifications
• magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling
• laboratory experiments in support of space active experiments.

Reviews of past active experiments are strongly encouraged.


Keywords: Active experiments


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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