Whitepaper #130 in the Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. Main topics: basic research. Additional topics: planetary magnetospheres; planetary ionospheres / upper atmospheres.
The omnipresence of ionospheric plasma throughout geospace affects every aspect of Earth’s magnetosphere and is critical for modeling space weather. Ionospheric escape is a universal process at every planet and is crucial for understanding atmospheric evolution and space weather. This white paper discusses open issues in ion outflow and plasma recirculation in the magnetosphere.