EZIE (Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer) is a Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory-led mission to explore electric currents in Earth’s atmosphere that link the aurora to our planet’s magnetosphere.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) implements EZIE and manages all aspects of the mission. APL provides end-to-end mission development, systems engineering, mission assurance and the science operations center. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will provide the MEM instruments, and Blue Canyon Technologies will provide three spacecraft buses, system integration and testing services, and mission operations services.
EZIE is a set of three 6U-CubeSats that will study the auroral electrojet, which are electrical currents flowing about 60 to 90 miles above the poles that link the beautiful aurora to the Earth’s magnetosphere, and which responds to solar activity and other drivers. EZIE's three SmallSats each carry a microwave electrojet magnetogram (MEM) instrument for magnetic field measurements near the source current revealing the structure and evolution of the electrojets.
The interaction of the magnetosphere and the solar wind — one piece of Earth’s complicated space weather system — compresses the Sun-facing side of the magnetosphere and drags out the nighttime side of the magnetosphere into what is called a “magnetotail.” Auroral electrojets are generated by changes in the structure of the magnetotail. The same space weather phenomena that power the fascinating aurora can cause interference with radio and communication signals and utility grids on Earth’s surface, and damage to spacecraft in orbit.
EZIE was selected in December 2020 as an Explorer mission of opportunity and will launch no earlier than June 2024. The total mission budget is $53.3 million.
|Type / Application:||Research, magnetosphere|
|Operator:||Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL)|
|Contractors:||Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) (prime), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) (instruments), Blue Canyon Technologies (bus)|
|Power:||2 deployable solar arrays, batteries|
|EZIE 1||-||2024||with ?, EZIE 1, 2|
|EZIE 2||-||2024||with ?, EZIE 1, 3|
|EZIE 3||-||2024||with ?, EZIE 1, 2|