Open Access

The ESPERIA satellite project for detecting seismo-associated effects in the topside ionosphere. First instrumental tests in space

Earth, Planets and Space200860:BF03352813

Received: 13 November 2006

Accepted: 24 October 2007

Published: 16 May 2008


In recent times, ionospheric and magnetospheric perturbations constituted by radiation belt particle precipitations, variations of temperature and density of ionic and electronic components of ionospheric plasma as well as electric and magnetic field fluctuations have been detected on board of the LEO satellites and associated with earthquake preparation and occurrence. Several mechanisms have been suggested as justifying the seismoelectromagnetic phenomena observed in the upper lithosphere and in the topside ionosphere before, during and after an earthquake. Their propagation in these media has also been investigated, but physical knowledge of such processes is below standard. Consequently, coordinated space and ground-based observations based on data gathered simultaneously in space and at the Earth’s surface are needed to investigate seismo-associated phenomena. To this end, the ESPERIA space mission project has been designed for the Italian Space Agency (ASI). To date, a few instruments of its payload have been built and tested in space. This paper reports on the justification, science background, and characteristics of the ESPERIA mission project as well as the description and testing of ESPERIA Instruments (ARINA and LAZIO-EGLE) in space.

Key words

Seismicity earthquake precursors seismo-electromagnetic emissions satellite ionosphere