In this study, we propose to design an all-sky imaging system for ionospheric remote sensing from the surface of the ocean, which are currently not instrumented for space physics measurements. The proposed instrument, called Ocean Stabilized Ionospheric Remote Imaging Sensor (OSIRIS), will image the nightglow OI 630.0 nm emission data and will be capable of operating from mobile and moored buoys. The OSIRIS design solution will include a gimballed platform for sensor stabilization. The proposed OSIRIS instrument design is novel as ionospheric imaging from the ocean platform has not been demonstrated. We will leverage our unique experiences operating instruments on buoys to develop a flexible and modular design of OSIRIS so that it could be integrated with different types of buoys without changing the underlying architecture. The proposed study of OSIRIS is a first step toward enabling the proliferation of ionospheric measurements from the ocean surface. It is anticipated that the design solution developed here for ocean buoys could lead to miniaturization of OSIRIS for future CubeSat missions. The development of this new class of observing capability will be a pathfinder for future persistent ionospheric measurements from the ocean surface. This effort addresses a critical gap in our current observational capability from the ocean surface.
We expect that the data from OSIRIS instruments when realized in its fullest will provide complementary data to the NASA GOLD and ICON missions. Future NASA missions, such as the Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC) mission, would also benefit from distributed arrays of OSIRIS in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Furthermore, the miniaturization of the imager in this project would be able to be transitioned for future NASA CubeSat missions.
Data from the OSIRIS instrument from buoys will support ionosphere-thermosphere research in academia, the DoD, and other federal agencies. Further, the versatility of OSIRIS would enable the instrument to be used to address multiple application ranging from coastal security to meteorology. For example, the proposed instrumented could be configured to provide cloud observations.