Electrostatic charging and dust transport at Mercury's surface

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A consideration of the presence of energetic charged particles in the magnetosphere of Mercury and their direct interaction with the planetary surface leads to the tentative conclusion that the nightside hemisphere could be occasionally charged to a surface potential of a few kilo‐Volts. This electrostatic charging process, if feasible, would further imply that electrostatic transport of sub‐micron dust particles on the surface of Mercury could play a significant role in the evolution and modification of the surface dust layer. Electromagnetic perturbation on the motion of the charged sub‐micron ejecta from meteoroid impacts could also lead to the development of a tenuous dust coma or dust tail near Mercury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1136
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1986


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