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Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science

Loss through Auroral Microburst Pulsations (LAMP) (LAMP)

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Loss through Auroral Microburst Pulsations (LAMP)
The Loss through Auroral Microburst Pulsations (LAMP) mission will provide the first simultaneous in situ measurements of pulsating auroral and microburst electron flux, in conjunction with extremely high frame rate optical images of the aurora, to determine the spatio-temporal relationship between auroral microbursts and pulsating aurora and to fully characterize the precipitating electron distribution of the auroral microbursts to determine if they contain a relativistic, radiation belt component. Therefore, LAMP is a vital first step in quantifying the auroral contribution to magnetospheric electron loss, and potentially radiation belt loss, through microburst precipitation. This sounding rocket mission is led by Dr. Sarah Jones (Goddard Space Flight Center) with an FY20 launch from Poker Flat Research Range (PFRR, winter 2019/20). LAMP will characterize the distribution of microbursts with respect to pulsating patches, including measurements of scale sizes and temporal variability, as well as determine the precipitating electron energy distribution and measure ionospheric effects associated with microburst precipitation. The LAMP payload will be instrumented with an electrostatic analyzer and two solid-state telescopes, both ion and electron retarding potential analyzers and a fluxgate magnetometer (MAG). A set of ground-based instrumentation also will be deployed, including several ultra-high time resolution, low light level cameras. LAMP directly addresses the stated NASA Heliophysics goal to "Understand the coupling of the Earth's magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere system" and will make a significant contribution to our understanding of electron precipitation to Earth's atmosphere in the form of pulsating aurora and auroral microbursts. Identifying the coupling of a key inner magnetosphere loss process (the role of microbursts in depleting Earth's ring current and radiation belt electrons) to perhaps the most ubiquitous type of aurora on Earth (pulsating aurora) is critical to our understanding of Magnetosphere-Ionosphere coupling. More »

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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