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Plasma Spectrometer (PLS)

NSSDCA ID: 1977-084A-06

Mission Name: Voyager 1
Principal Investigator:Dr. John D. Richardson


The plasma investigation made use of two Faraday-cup detectors, one pointed along the earth-spacecraft line and one at right angles to this line. The earth-pointing detector determined the macroscopic properties of the plasma ions, obtaining accurate values of their velocity, density, and pressure. Three sequential energy scans were employed with (delta E)/E equal to 20, 7.2, and 1.8%, allowing a coverage from subsonic to highly supersonic flow. The side-looking Faraday cup measured electrons in the energy range from 5 eV to 1 keV.

Alternate Names

  • PLS
  • Plasma Science Experiment
  • Voyager1/PLS
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:vg1.pls

Facts in Brief

Mass: 9.9 kg
Power (avg): 8.1 W
Bit rate (avg): 0.032 kbps

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Fields and Particles
  • Space Physics: Heliospheric Studies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. James D. SullivanCo-InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of
Dr. Keith W. OgilvieCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Leonard F. BurlagaCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Prof. George L. SiscoeCo-InvestigatorUniversity of California, Los
Prof. Vytenis M. VasyliunasCo-InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur
Dr. Alan J. LazarusCo-InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Richard E. HartleCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Arthur J. HundhausenCo-InvestigatorNational Center for Atmospheric Research
Dr. S. OlbertCo-InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Jack D. ScudderCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Christoph K. GoertzCo-InvestigatorUniversity of Iowa
Dr. John D. RichardsonPrincipal InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of

Selected References

  • Lazarus, A. J., and R. L., Jr. McNutt, Low-energy plasma ion observations in Saturn's magnetosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 88, No. A11, 8831-8846, doi:10.1029/JA088iA11p08831, Nov. 1983.
  • McNutt, R. L., Jr., et al., Positive ion observations in the middle magnetosphere of Jupiter, J. Geophys. Res., 86, No. A10, 8319-8342, doi:10.1029/JA086iA10p08319, Sept. 1981.
  • Bridge, H. S., et al., Plasma observations near Saturn: Initial results from Voyager 1, Science, 212, No. 4491, 217-224, doi:10.1126/science.212.4491.217, Apr. 1981.
  • Bridge, H. S., et al., Plasma observations near Jupiter: Initial results from Voyager 1, Science, 204, No. 4396, 987-991, doi:10.1126/science.204.4396.987, June 1979.
  • Bridge, H. S., et al., The plasma experiment on the 1977 Voyager mission, Space Sci. Rev., 21, No. 3, 259-287, doi:10.1007/BF00211542, Dec. 1977.
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