Detection and dynamics of satellite exospheres

Abstract : I present a multidisciplinary analysis on the behavior of asurface-bounded exosphere synchronously rotating about its primary. Anexosphere is the boundless, external envelope of gas extending from aplanetary surface or atmosphere. This collisionless gas represents theinterface between planets and stars, as it directly interacts with theinterplanetary medium. Should the exosphere possess a population ofvolatiles strongly coupled with the surface temperature, the exospherewill be capable of experiencing a diurnal cycle over an orbitalperiod. I provide the first evidence of the existence of such adiurnal cycle in the molecular oxygen exospheres of two of Jupiter’sicy moons: Europa and Ganymede. The evidence was surmounted by anin-depth comparison between the near-surface ultraviolet oxygenaurorae observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and 3-D Monte Carlosimulations of Europa’s near-surface O2 exosphere, where both auroraeand exospheres where found to be strongly peaking at dusk. Thedusk-over-dawn asymmetry analysis also provides evidence that Europamay harbor a large O2 reservoir embedded in its ice today. Inaddition to O2 , I present the first orbital simulations of all knownwater-products at Europa, and provide perspectives on discerning theeffects of cryovolcanism on the exosphere. Lastly, at LATMOS, Icharacterized a novel ionization source: a carbon nanotube electrongun (CNTeg). This in-situ device used for neutral mass spectrometry,may prove to be a very efficient electron emitter (P < 10 milliWatts)and should aid future searches to detect trace gases in any exosphere.
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Apurva Oza. Detection and dynamics of satellite exospheres. Planetology. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066224⟩. ⟨tel-01687043⟩

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