Swarm featured in special edition of Earth Planets and Space

The Earth's self-sustaining dynamo
5 May 2006

The latest special issue of the Earth Planets and Space publication features a collection of 12 papers covering many aspects of ESA's magnetic mission Swarm. The articles are from many disciplines and summarises the results of a variety of research efforts that have recently been conducted as part preparing for the Swarm mission.

A general introduction to the Swarm mission concept and its scientific objectives is given in the paper by Friis-Christensen, Lühr and Hulot, who are the lead and co-proposer of the mission to ESA. The following four papers report on the outcome of the Phase-A research activities regarding determination of the magnetic field of the core and lithosphere. Besides modelling these Earth interior components, electromagnetic induction studies using simulated Swarm magnetic data are discussed in the following two papers providing an additional insight into the Earth interior, especially the mantle. The use of the Swarm constellation for studying electric currents in the ionosphere and their connection to the magnetosphere is reported in the three papers thereafter. The last two contributions present new approaches for modelling the lithospheric field.

This documentation of study results related to the mission objectives and expected capabilities of Swarm, reflected at this early stage of the mission, hopefully encourages scientists from the Earth observation and space science communities to cooperate and to inspire them to think about new ideas related to this unique constellation concept.

The Swarm satellite mission was selected in 2004 as the fifth Earth Explorer mission in ESA’s Living Planet Programme. The mission comprises a constellation of three satellites in near-polar low orbits and is scheduled for launch in 2010. The mission aims at providing the best ever survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution and is expected to lead to new insights into the Earth system by improving our understanding of the Earth’s interior and its effect on Geospace, the vast region around the Earth where electro-dynamic processes are influenced by the Earth’s magnetic field.

The Swarm articles can be found in Earth Planets and Space Volume 58 (No. 4), pp. 349-496, 2006, see link in the right-hand column.

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