Modeling Earth’s magnetosphere in the laboratory

Scientists report a method to study smaller magnetospheres, sometimes just millimeters thick, in the laboratory. The new experimental platform combines the magnetic field of the Large Plasma Device with a fast laser-driven plasma and a current-driven dipole magnet. The LAPD magnetic field provides a model of the solar system’s interplanetary magnetic field, while the laser-driven plasma models the solar wind and the dipole magnet provides a model for the Earth’s inherent magnetic field. Motorized probes allow system scans in three dimensions by combining data from tens of thousands of laser shots.

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