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Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer (NICE). Science Objectives: Understand coupling between planetary ionospheres and their upper atmospheres mediated by strong ion-neutral coupling [Science Plan, 2006] (1) How do the large scale atmospheric dynamics control the Earth’s ionosphere.

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Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer (NICE)

Science Objectives: Understand coupling between planetary ionospheres and their upper atmospheres mediated by strong ion-neutral coupling [Science Plan, 2006]

(1) How do the large scale atmospheric dynamics control the Earth’s ionosphere.

(2) What causes the day to day variability in the Earth’s ionosphere.

(3) What causes the ionospheric plasma enhancement during storms.

Associated RFAs: F3, F4, H2, J4

Mission Implementation Description:

*Number of spacecraft:1

*Location: circular orbit alt.= 550 km, incl.=24o

*Attitude control: Nadir pointed 3-axis stabilized

*Instruments:(1) Fabry-Perot (remote), (2) FUV imager (remote), (3) EUV profiler (remote), (4) Ion Velocity Meter (in situ/remote), all TRL = > 6.

*Payload resources required (mass/pwr/tlm): 76.8kg/71W/3.2 Mb/s during each pass (S band) Measurement Strategy: Low inclination orbit remote instruments look at northward limb, FUV/EUV characterizes thermosphere/ionosphere. Wind vector profiles are measured on same limb. Equipotential field lines allow interpretation of in situ ion drift as E field in same limb region. Obtains composition (neutral and ion), neutral winds and temperatures,

Enabling and Enhancing Technology Development:

All required technologies are currently available to perform the NICE baseline mission, however technology development will increase the value of the retrieved data.

Development of observation-specific on- board data compression schemes.

Development of inversion and tomographic algorithms for 3-di interpretation.

Higher dynamic range (speed) photon counting FUV detectors would simplify calibrations and thus improve data quality.

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