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Space plasma environment

Decades of space exploration have demonstrated that, the space environment is not empty and not homogeneous. Regarding electric aspects, it is characterized by the presence of a plasma, the characteristics of which are extremely variables both temporally and spatially.

In the near-Earth region, the plasma is structured by the geomagnetic field that constitutes a cavity, called the magnetosphere, in the interplanetary medium, i.e. the solar wind. The external limit of the magnetosphere is the magnetopause. The different regions are sketched in Figure 1.

Figure: Magnetosphere
\mbox{\epsffile{magnetosphere.ps} }\par\end{center}\end{figure}