Micrometeoroid events in LISA Pathfinder

Thorpe, J. I. et al. (2019) Micrometeoroid events in LISA Pathfinder. Astrophysical Journal, 883(1), 53. (doi: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab3649)

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The zodiacal dust complex, a population of dust and small particles that pervades the solar system, provides important insight into the formation and dynamics of planets, comets, asteroids, and other bodies. We present a new set of data obtained from direct measurements of momentum transfer to a spacecraft from individual particle impacts. This technique is made possible by the extreme precision of the instruments flown on the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, a technology demonstrator for a future space-based gravitational wave observatory. Pathfinder employed a technique known as drag-free control that achieved rejection of external disturbances, including particle impacts, using a micropropulsion system. Using a simple model of the impacts and knowledge of the control system, we show that it is possible to detect impacts and measure properties such as the transferred momentum, direction of travel, and location of impact on the spacecraft. In this paper, we present the results of a systematic search for impacts during 4348 hr of Pathfinder data. We report a total of 54 candidates with transferred momenta ranging from 0.2 to 230 μNs. We furthermore make a comparison of these candidates with models of micrometeoroid populations in the inner solar system, including those resulting from Jupiter-family comets (JFCs), Oort Cloud comets, Halley-type comets, and asteroids. We find that our measured population is consistent with a population dominated by JFCs, with some evidence for a smaller contribution from Halley-type comets, in agreement with consensus models of the zodiacal dust complex in the momentum range sampled by LISA Pathfinder.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This analysis was conducted under a 2017 NASA Science Innovation Fund awarded to J.I.T., T.B.L., D.J., and J.G.B. J.S. acknowledges support of the NASA Astrophysics Division. N.P. and S.H. acknowledge the support of the NASA Undergraduate Summer Internship program, and S.H. acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. The data were produced by the LISA Pathfinder mission, which was part of the space-science program of the European Space Agency and also hosted the NASA Disturbance Reduction System payload, developed under the NASA New Millennium Program. The French contribution to LISA Pathfinder has been supported by the CNES (Accord Specific de projet CNES 1316634/CNRS 103747), the CNRS, the Observatoire de Paris, and the University Paris-Diderot. E.P. and H.I. would also like to acknowledge the financial support of the UnivEarthS Labex program at Sorbonne Paris Cité (ANR-10-LABX-0023 and ANR-11-IDEX-0005-02). The Albert-Einstein-Institut acknowledges the support of the German Space Agency, DLR, in the development and operations of LISA Pathfinder. The work is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a resolution of the German Bundestag (FKZ 50OQ0501 and FKZ 50OQ1601). The Italian contribution to LISA Pathfinder has been supported by Agenzia Spaziale Italiana and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare. The Spanish contribution to LISA Pathfinder has been supported by contracts AYA2010-15709 (MICINN), ESP2013- 47637-P, and ESP2015-67234-P (MINECO). M.N. acknowledges support from Fundacion General CSIC (Programa ComFuturo). F.R. acknowledges an FPI contract (MINECO). The Swiss contribution to LISA Pathfinder was made possible by the support of the Swiss Space Office (SSO) via the PRODEX Programme of ESA. L.F. is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The UK LISA Pathfinder groups wish to acknowledge support from the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA), the University of Glasgow, the University of Birmingham, Imperial College, and the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA). Facility: LISA Pathfinder (http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/). Software: LTPDA (https://www.elisascience.org/ltpda/), MATPLOTLIB (https://matplotlib.org/), HEALPY (https://github.com/healpy/healpy), ligo.skymap (https://lscsoft.docs.ligo.org/ligo.skymap).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Dr David and Ward, Professor Henry and Perreur-Lloyd, Mr Michael and Killow, Dr Christian
Authors: Thorpe, J. I., Slutsky, J., Baker, J. G., Littenberg, T. B., Hourihane, S., Pagane, N., Pokorny, P., Janches, D., Armano, M., Audley, H., Auger, G., Baird, J., Bassan, M., Binetruy, P., Born, M., Bortoluzzi, D., Brandt, N., Caleno, M., Cavalleri, A., Cesarini, A., Cruise, A. M., Danzmann, K., de Deus Silva, M., De Rosa, R., Di Fiore, L., Diepholz, I., Dixon, G., Dolesi, R., Dunbar, N., Ferraioli, L., Ferroni, V., Fitzsimons, E. D., Flatscher, R., Freschi, M., García Marirrodriga, C., Gerndt, R., Gesa, L., Gibert, F., Giardini, D., Giusteri, R., Grado, A., Grimani, C., Grzymisch, J., Harrison, I., Heinzel, G., Hewitson, M., Hollington, D., Hoyland, D., Hueller, M., Inchauspé, H., Jennrich, O., Jetzer, P., Johlander, B., Karnesis, N., Kaune, B., Korsakova, N., Killow, C.J., Lobo, J. A., Lloro, I., Liu, L., López-Zaragoza, J. P., Maarschalkerweerd, R., Mance, D., Martín, V., Martin-Polo, L., Martino, J., Martin-Porqueras, F., Madden, S., Mateos, I., McNamara, P. W., Mendes, J., Mendes, L., Nofrarias, M., Paczkowski, S., Perreur-Lloyd, M., Petiteau, A., Pivato, P., Plagnol, E., Prat, P., Ragnit, U., Ramos-Castro, J., Reiche, J., Robertson, D.I., Rozemeijer, H., Rivas, F., Russano, G., Sarra, P., Schleicher, A., Shaul, D., Sopuerta, C. F., Stanga, R., Sumner, T., Texier, D., Trenkel, C., Tröbs, M., Vetrugno, D., Vitale, S., Wanner, G., Ward, H., Wass, P., Wealthy, D., Weber, W. J., Wissel, L., Wittchen, A., Zambotti, A., Zanoni, C., Ziegler, T., Zweifel, P., Barela, P., Cutler, C., Demmons, N., Dunn, C., Girard, M., Hsu, O., Javidnia, S., Li, I., Maghami, P., Marrese-Reading, C., Mehta, J., O’Donnell, J., Romero-Wolf, A., and Ziemer, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astrophysical Journal
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN (Online):1538-4357
Published Online:19 September 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The American Astronomical Society
First Published:First published in Astrophysical Journal 883(1):53
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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