The Fierce Urgency Of Now
These probes were made by Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir. You stick a thin wire into the cloud. As the positive and negatives touched the metal, a current is drawn from the wire. This is a cylindrical probe . You biased this wire at some voltage. As the wire changes from negative to positive, the current also changes. This signal is known as a current-voltage or IV curve. From this data: the plasma density, energy, charge and potential can be found . But this is not easy. You need to do some mathematic acrobatics to get it to work . Reading this signal is actually its own field of study. Normally, you outsource this work to a company with software and fancy tools . But the team had no money. They had to tackle this analysis by hand. Each wire-plasma interaction was analyzed ad hoc. Here is an illustration of this process.