This course studies the physics and the history of our utilization of space, the challenges and mitigation of making in situ observations in space. Topics include the history of solar system exploration; the solar cycle; the electrodynamics of the solar upper atmosphere responsible for the solar wind; and the solar wind interaction with unmagnetized and magnetized bodies—how this leads to planetary bow shocks, comets, and magnetospheres and how they are studied. Practical issues include penetrating radiation and its effects on spacecraft and man in space, magnetospheric storm disruptions of ground power distribution and spacecraft charging in the presence and absence of solar illumination with particular reference to applying this knowledge in exploring the outer solar system and beyond.

Course prerequisite(s): 

615.642 Electromagnetics or the equivalent.

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