Space Science Reviews

, Volume 154, Issue 1–4, pp 305–316 | Cite as

Studying the Lunar Ionosphere with SELENE Radio Science Experiment

  • Takeshi Imamura
  • Takahiro Iwata
  • Zen-ichi Yamamoto
  • Nanako Mochizuki
  • Yusuke Kono
  • Koji Matsumoto
  • Qinghui Liu
  • Hirotomo Noda
  • Hideo Hanada
  • Koh-ichiro Oyama
  • Alexander Nabatov
  • Yoshifumi Futaana
  • Akinori Saito
  • Hiroki Ando
Article

Abstract

Radio occultation observations of the electron density near the lunar surface were conducted during the SELENE (Kaguya) mission using the Vstar and Rstar sub-satellites. Previous radio occultation measurements conducted in the Soviet lunar missions have indicated the existence of an ionosphere with peak densities of several hundreds of electrons per cubic centimeters above the dayside lunar surface. These densities are difficult to explain theoretically when the removal of plasma by the solar wind is considered, and thus the generation mechanism of the lunar ionosphere is a major issue, with even the validity of previous observations still under debate. The most serious error source in the measurement is the fluctuation of the terrestrial ionosphere which also exists along the ray path. To cope with this difficulty, about 400 observations were conducted using Vstar to enable statistical analysis of the weak signal of the lunar ionosphere. Another method is to utilize Vstar and Rstar with the second one being used to measure the terrestrial ionosphere contribution. The observations will establish the morphology of the lunar ionosphere and will reveal its relationship with various conditions to provide possible clues to the mechanism.

Keywords

Moon Ionosphere Radio occultation SELENE Kaguya 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takeshi Imamura
    • 1
  • Takahiro Iwata
    • 1
  • Zen-ichi Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Nanako Mochizuki
    • 1
  • Yusuke Kono
    • 2
  • Koji Matsumoto
    • 2
  • Qinghui Liu
    • 3
  • Hirotomo Noda
    • 2
  • Hideo Hanada
    • 2
  • Koh-ichiro Oyama
    • 4
  • Alexander Nabatov
    • 5
  • Yoshifumi Futaana
    • 6
  • Akinori Saito
    • 7
  • Hiroki Ando
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of Space and Astronautical ScienceJapan Aerospace Exploration AgencyChuouku, SagamiharaJapan
  2. 2.National Astronomical Observatory of JapanNational Institutes of Natural SciencesMizusawa, OshuJapan
  3. 3.Shanghai Astronomical ObservatoryChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  4. 4.National Central UniversityJhongli, TaoyuanTaiwan
  5. 5.Ukrainian Academy of ScienceKharkovUkraine
  6. 6.Swedish Institute of Space PhysicsKirunaSweden
  7. 7.Kyoto UniversityGokasho, Uji CityJapan
  8. 8.The University of TokyoBunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan

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