Fast magnetosonic wave excitation by an array of wires with time-modulated currents
Abstract. The excitation of Fast Magnetosonic (FMS) waves by a cylindrical array of parallel tethers carrying time-modulated current is discussed. The tethers would fly vertical in the equatorial plane, which is perpendicular to the geomagnetic field when its tilt is ignored, and would be stabilized by the gravity gradient. The tether array would radiate a single FMS wave. In the time-dependent background made of geomagnetic field plus radiated wave, plasma FMS perturbations are excited in the array vicinity through a parametric instability. The growth rate is estimated by truncating the evolution equation for FMS perturbations to the two azimuthal modes of lowest order. Design parameters such as tether length and number, required power and mass are discussed for Low Earth Orbit conditions. The array-attached wave structure would have the radiated wave controlled by the intensity and modulation frequency of the currents, making an active experiment on non-linear low frequency waves possible in real space plasma conditions.