The Aalto University Space plasma physics and planetary science team is based on the Otaniemi campus in Espoo, West of Helsinki, Finland. The team belongs to the Department of Radio Science and Engineering (RAD) as part of the School of Electrical Engineering (ELEC) of Aalto University.
We specialise in the numerical modelling of space plasmas and their interactions with weakly magnetized bodies. We are also closely involved in space technology and instruments onboard several current space missions from the European Space Agency, such as Rosetta, Mars Express, Venus Express, or the upcoming BepiColombo and JUICE missions. The modelling tools we develop serve as state-of-the-art interpreters of the complex interactions between solar wind particles and the studied solar system object.
The bulk of our current research is done with a Cloud-in-Cell plasma model based on the MULTI platform. MULTI can be used in the hybrid and full-kinetic regimes, since the plasma environments of weakly magnetized bodies exhibit kinetic effects beyond the scope of fluid models, such as mass loading and finite gyroradius effects. The model typically treats ions in a fully kinetic fashion, with electrons forming a charge-neutralizing massless fluid. MULTI is based on the kinetic simulation works made at the Finnish Meteorological Institute by the leader of the team, Prof. Esa Kallio, since 1999.
Rosetta and the comet 67P/C-G reach perihelion on the 13th August. To celebrate, we published some news and visualizations on our research!
Our group's research is featured in the Science article Birth of a comet magnetosphere: A spring of water ions. See more of our part in this here, also in Finnish.
Philae has landed on the comet 67P/C-G and is transmitting images from the surface of the comet!
Rosetta has sent its Philae lander to the comet 67P/Churuomov-Gerasimenko. See ESA's site for a live feed!
MAVEN and Mangalyaan have both successfully reached Mars orbit. Congrats!