“Planetary Space Weather Science and Solar System Exploration” with Christina Plainaki (Italian Space Agency (ASI), Italy)

In the recent years, thanks to Solar System exploration, our knowledge on the interactions between a planetary body and its local space environment, where perturbations of solar or non-solar origin may occur, has been dramatically increased. Our understanding of the so called planetary space weather science is of paramount importance also for getting clues on similar –in their nature– phenomena that evolve in the circum-terrestrial environment, nevertheless, at different temporal and spatial scales. Moreover, determining the properties of radiation environments inside planetary magnetospheres is one of the key challenges of magnetospheric physics research. At the same time, it allows the design and manufacturing of satellites and payloads that are resistant to hazardous environments. In this talk, the speaker will discuss some examples of space weather science approaches, especially in the context of the Outer Solar System exploration. Moreover, the speaker will try to evidence the role of theoretical and/or data-driven modeling during preparation for upcoming exploration missions and discuss some future perspectives.

Christina Plainaki is a researcher of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with activity in the fields of circumterrestrial and planetary Space Weather. Her research work is mainly focused on the modelling of the effects of radiation and plasma bombardment on moon icy surfaces, where phenomena such as sputtering and radiolysis generate tenuous atmospheres. She also studies the ion circulation in Ganymede’s mini-magnetosphere and its temporal and spatial variability in the context of planetary space weather. Her work is very relevant to the preparation for future missions in the outer Solar System, to the planning of observations and to the interpretation of both remote sensing and in situ data. She currently participates in different Solar System exploration missions such as the NASA Juno mission, the ESA JUICE mission, and the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission. She has written more than 100 scientific peer-reviewed papers (20 as a lead author) and has given numerous invited talks and seminars in international conferences as well as invited lectures in the context of PhD summer schools and courses.

Webinar was recorded on January 26, 2023