Prof. Dr. Uwe Motschmann

Technische Universität Braunschweig
Institute of Theoretical Physics
Mendelssohnstr. 3
D-38106 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 391 5181
E-Mail: u.motschmann@tu-braunschweig.de
Website: www.tu-braunschweig.de/theophys/plasma

Researcher’s Career

  • Professor for Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, TU Braunschweig
  • Guest Professor, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin
  • Werner-Heisenberg-Stipend of DFG
  • Postdoc, Imperial College, London
  • Habilitation in Theoretical Physics, University of Potsdam
  • Ph.D. (Dr. sc. nat.), Academy of Sciences, Berlin
  • Postdoc, Institute for Space Research, Berlin
  • Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.), University of Jena
  • Study of Physics, University of Jena

Mission Statement

The space between the stars and planets is filled with a faint ionized gas, the space plasma. This material controls the interaction of astrophysical objects to a high degree. We develop and apply numerical models for the action and reaction of the bodies mediated by the space plasma. Our research supports the design of space missions and the interpretation of their results.

Research

Loss of water on Mars

For the early Martian conditions an enhanced influence of the Sun’s radiation flux to the Martian ionosphere is claimed. For a moderate Sun the water loss is equivalent to the depth of a global Martian ocean of about 2.6 m over the last 4.5 billion years. The induced Martian magnetic field strength was increased up to about 2000 nT. Our modeling with a very active Sun even results in a water loss of an equivalent global Martian ocean up to 205 m depth during 150 million years after the Sun reached the zero age mean sequence. Thus Mars is very dry today as observed by the Mars-Express mission.

Mars, credits: Institute of Theoretical Physics

Plasma environment of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Comet, credits: Institute of Theoretical Physics

The Rosetta mission with its long term flight in formation and the landing on the surface revolutionized our knowledge on comets. Our simulated plasma environment predicted the Rosetta observations of the magnetic field, particle density and flow tructures with high accuracy. A new type of quasi-coherent, large-amplitude magnetic field oscillation which dominates the immediate plasma environment of the nucleus was identified and interpreted.

Geysers on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus

An extended plume of water vapor and ice grains at the south pole of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus was the fascinating discovery of the Cassini mission. Our investigation of the mutual feedback between the ice grains and Saturn’s plasma environment explains the sophisticated twist of the magnetic field and the filamentary ion density structure observed by the Cassini plasma instruments.

Enceladus, credits: Institute of Theoretical Physics

Selected Publications

  • H. Comisel, U. Motschmann, J. Buechner, Y. Narita, and Y. Nariyuki: Ion-Scale Turbulence in the Inner Heliosphere: Radial Dependence, Astrophysical Journal, 812, 175 (6pp), 2015, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/812/2/175.
  • H. Kriegel, S. Simon, P. Meier, U. Motschmann, J. Saur, A. Wennmacher, D.F. Strobel, and M.K. Dougherty: Ion densities and magnetic signatures of dust pick-up at Enceladus, Journal Geophysical Research, 119, pp. 2740-2774, 2014, doi:10.1002/2013JA019440.
  • Y. Narita, K.-H. Glassmeier, U. Motschmann, and M. Wilczek: Doppler shift and broadening in sloar wind turbulence, Earth Planets Space, 65, e5-e8, 2013, doi:10.5047/eps.2012.12.002.
  • J. Mueller, S. Simon, U. Motschmann, J. Schuele, K.-H. Glassmeier, and G. J. Pringle: A.I.K.E.F. Adaptive Hybrid Model for Space Plasma Simulations, Computer Physics Communications, 182, pp. 946-966, 2011, doi:10.1016/j.cpc.2010.12.033.
  • A. Bößwetter, H. Lammer, Y. Kulikov, U. Motschmann, and S. Simon: Non-thermal water loss of the early Mars: 3D multi-ion hybrid simulations, Planetary and Space Science, 58, pp. 2031-2043, 2010.
  • J. Mueller, S. Simon, U. Motschmann, J. Schuele, K.-H. Glassmeier, and G. J. Pringle: A.I.K.E.F. Adaptive Hybrid Model for Space Plasma Simulations, Computer Physics Communications, 182, pp. 946-966, 2011, doi:10.1016/j.cpc.2010.12.033.
  • Y. Narita, K.-H. Glassmeier, U. Motschmann, and M. Wilczek: Doppler shift and broadening in sloar wind turbulence, Earth Planets Space, 65, e5-e8, 2013, doi:10.5047/eps.2012.12.002.
  • H. Kriegel, S. Simon, P. Meier, U. Motschmann, J. Saur, A. Wennmacher, D.F. Strobel, and M.K. Dougherty: Ion densities and magnetic signatures of dust pick-up at Enceladus, Journal Geophysical Research, 119, pp. 2740-2774, 2014, doi:10.1002/2013JA019440.
  • H. Comisel, U. Motschmann, J. Buechner, Y. Narita, and Y. Nariyuki: Ion-Scale Turbulence in the Inner Heliosphere: Radial Dependence, Astrophysical Journal, 812, 175 (6pp), 2015, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/812/2/175.