Missions   FAST

Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST)


FAST is one in the series of NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) spacecraft. Dr. C. W. Carlson, from the University of California at Berkeley is the Principal Investigator for this spacecraft, which is exploring the Earth's auroral zones. The FAST spacecraft was launched on August 21st, 1996 into a 400 x 4000 km altitude near polar orbit. The primary purpose of this spacecraft is to measure particles and fields with high temporal and spatial resolution in the regions where electrons are energized to form the aurora, and ions

FAST orbit.

FAST instruments.

are accelerated out of the ionosphere into the magnetosphere. The processes involved include electric field acceleration and wave heating, and the FAST measurements will allow us to understand how these processes occur. In addition, the particles carry currents along the Earth's magnetic field, and also generate radio waves. The currents allow electrodynamic coupling between the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere, while the radio waves, known as Auroral Kilometric Radiation, make the Earth a radio-astronomical object, like Jupiter.

The UCLA group is analyzing data from the FAST magnetometers. They will investigate the currents that flow in the auroral zone, and the electromagnetic waves associated with these currents, such as whistler-mode "saucers", Alfven waves, and Auroral Kilometric Radiation.

Related Links at UCLA

FAST Orbit Seasonal Coverage
Description of get_fa_orbit [for FAST co-I's and GI's]
FAST Magnetometer Team Personnel
UCLA - FAST Presentations and Publications

Other Related Links
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - FAST home page
Space Sciences Laboratory, U.C. Berkeley - FAST home page
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, UCLA

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Last updated: October 15, 2008