BackForwardInstrument:  PLASTIC 

Instrument details
Acronym PLASTIC
Full name PLAsma and SupraThermal Ion and Composition
Purpose To study coronal Solar Wind and solar wind-heliospheric processes by ions measurement
Short description Assemblage of instruments to: 1) measure the distribution functions of solar wind protons and alpha particles with a time resolution of about one minute; 2) provide, on at least five minute resolution, the elemental composition, charge state distribution, kinetic temperature, and velocity of the more abundant solar wind heavy ions (e.g., C, O, Ne, Mg, Si, and Fe); and 3) measure the distribution functions of suprathermal ions H through Fe. Energy-per-charge range: 0.3-100 keV/e.
Background Part of an instrument package for solar activity observation
Scanning Technique Sun pointing from two variable positions along the Earth’s orbit around the Sun in order to implement stereoscopy
Resolution N/A
Coverage / Cycle Full interplanetary space
Mass Power Data Rate

 

Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 2007-01-21 to ≥2020
Last update: 2017-06-05
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Solar and space environment monitors
  • Energetic particle spectrometer
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Alpha particles differential directional flux
  • Heavy ion angular flux energy and mass spectrum
  • Heavy ion flux energy and mass spectrum
  • Proton differential directional flux
Secondary mission objectives
  • Solar wind density
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Proton differential directional flux3 - highNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space, low and medium energy (up to 1000 keV)
Alpha particles differential directional flux2 - very highNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space. Low-medium energy range (<10 up to 100 MeV/n)
Solar wind density3 - highNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space. Inferred from Proton and Alpha-particle spectroscopy
Solar wind temperature3 - highNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space. Inferred from Proton and Alpha-particle spectroscopy
Solar wind velocity3 - highNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space. Inferred from Proton and Alpha-particle spectroscopy
Heavy ion flux energy and mass spectrum4 - fairNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space. Low-medium energy range (<10 up to 100 MeV/n)
Heavy ion angular flux energy and mass spectrum4 - fairNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space. Low-medium energy range (<10 up to 100 MeV/n)