Surface Discharges on Natural Dielectrics in the Solar System

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Science  02 Aug 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4918, pp. 622-624
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4918.622


When Earth-orbiting spacecraft are exposed to large fluxes of energetic charged particles, electric discharges occur on circuit boards, solar panels, and other dielectric surfaces. Large fluxes of energetic partides can produce such discharges on natural materials in the solar system. Surface discharges will occur under a variety of conditions, but particularly favorable environments are expected to occur within the magnetospheres of the giant planets; an example is the surface of Io.

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