Modeling energetic-charged particles within the Europa-Jupiter environment
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Europa, one of Jupiter's Galilean moons, is one of the few planetary bodies in our solar system thought to have the prospect of life. The Jupiter-Europa Orbiter (JEO), part of a new flagship mission, will be sent to the Jupiter System to study Europa. While in this environment, JEO will be exposed to energetic-charged particles, known as plasma. The radiation from these energetic-charged particles has the ability to disrupt the equipment on the orbiter and shorten its life-span. The long-term goal of this research is to model the Jupiter-Europa radiation environment in order to find shielded regions, areas where there are fewer energetic-charged particles, within the environment around Europa. The radiation environment will be modeled by combining magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations and test particle trackers developed using FORTRAN. High energy test particles, driven by the Lorentz force law, will be launched and tracked through the environment of Europa that has been modeled using MHD simulations. This research develops a tool that can be used for tracking energetic-charged particle motion in a modeled environment. With further testing, these algorithms can be applied to locating these shielded regions which could help lengthen the life-span of the Jupiter-Europa Orbiter.