Patrick Brown (Imperial): Magnetometer instruments for space science missions
Magnetic field sensing instruments have been a key payload element on spacecraft since the dawn of the space age. They are used to map the Earth’s magnetic field, they can predict the onset of space weather events and have even been used to detect sub-surface oceans on the icy moons of planets. Many different magnetometer technologies have been flown depending on the specific mission target and its environment. In this talk I will describe the main types of space magnetometer under development at Imperial College, focusing on fluxgates, optical sensors and solid-state designs. I will discuss the challenges of operating in space and how these are overcome to create highly accurate fault tolerant instruments capable to detecting sub-nT signatures. Finally, I will highlight some of the major discoveries made with our instruments over the years on missions such as Cassini, Cluster and Solar Orbiter.
Patrick Brown is Head of the Space Magnetometer Laboratory at the Blackett Laboratory. Imperial College London. He has been working on magnetic instruments for space mission since 1997 starting with the fluxgate magnetometers on the ESA’s Cluster mission which was launched in 2000. Since then he has designed and built fluxgate instruments on a range space science missions including Double Star, Solar Orbiter and JUICE and magneto-resistive magnetometers for several space weather Cubesats and the Lunar Gateway.
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