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Non-Stationary Processes during the Formation of Dusty Plasma at the Surface of Deimos, the Satellite of Mars


The formation of dusty plasma due to photoelectric and electrostatic processes in the near-surface layer of the illuminated part of Deimos, the satellite of Mars, is discussed. The parameters characterizing the trajectories of motion of dust grains are determined on the basis of a physico-mathematical model for a self-consistent description of densities of photoelectrons and dust grains above the illuminated part of Deimos. It is shown that the damping of oscillations of a dust grain above the Martian satellite’s surface is associated with variations in its charge that is consistent with the concept of anomalous dissipation that follows from processes associated with variations in the charges of dust grains. It is demonstrated that for the majority of dust grains that are lifted above Deimos’s surface due to photoelectric and electrostatic processes, the damping time of their oscillations turns out to be longer than the daylight time, i.e., the non-stationarity of the dusty plasma system above the illuminated surface of Deimos manifests almost during the entire duration of the day on it. The maximum altitudes to which dust grains lift and maximum charge numbers that can be achieved by dust grains of different sizes are determined, and the typical densities of dust grains and photoelectrons above Deimos are estimated. More detailed information on the properties of its soil, which is expected to be obtained in future space missions, is required to obtain more definite data about the parameters of the plasma–dust system in the vicinity of Deimos.

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Correspondence to S. I. Popel.

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Translated by L. Mosina

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Golub’, A.P., Popel, S.I. Non-Stationary Processes during the Formation of Dusty Plasma at the Surface of Deimos, the Satellite of Mars. Plasma Phys. Rep. 47, 826–831 (2021).

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  • dusty plasma
  • Mars system
  • Deimos
  • damping of dust grain oscillations
  • non-stationarity
  • future space missions