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Mathematical Modeling of Electrodynamics Near the Surface of Earth and Planetary Water WorldsAn interesting feature of planetary bodies with hydrospheres is the presence of an electrically conducting shell near the global surface. This conducting shell may typically lie between relatively insulating rock, ice, or atmosphere, creating a strong constraint on the flow of large-scale electric currents. All or parts of the shell may be in fluid motion relative to main components of the rotating planetary magnetic field (as well as the magnetic fields due to external bodies), creating motionally-induced electric currents that would not otherwise be present. As such, one may expect distinguishing features in the types of electrodynamic processes that occur, as well as an opportunity for imposing specialized mathematical methods that efficiently address this class of application. The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss such specialized methods. Specifically, thin-shell approximations for both the electrodynamics and fluid dynamics are combined to derive simplified mathematical formulations describing the behavior of these electric currents as well as their associated electric and magnetic fields. These simplified formulae allow analytical solutions featuring distinct aspects of the thin-shell electrodynamics in idealized cases. A highly efficient numerical method is also presented that is useful for calculations under inhomogeneous parameter distributions. Finally, the advantages as well as limitations in using this mathematical approach are evaluated. This evaluation is presented primarily for the generic case of bodies with water worlds or other thin spherical conducting shells. More specific discussion is given for the case of Earth, but also Europa and other satellites with suspected oceans.
Document ID
20170011279
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Authors
Tyler, Robert H. (Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
November 27, 2017
Publication Date
September 1, 2017
Subject Category
Mathematical and Computer Sciences (General)
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN49462
NASA/TM-2017-219022
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNG17PT01A
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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