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On plans

So, sometimes life goes not exactly like you plan it to be. On closer look, it rarely goes as expected. Depending on how you feel about live and curiosity, this is usually a good thing. In the last blog post, I told you about the plans I had with the WSA-ENLIL model. Spoiler alert: plans changed.

In the first steps of Project Nahual, I familiarized myself with solar wind with the help of the WSA-ENLIL model. To start an actual simulation of an artificial Martian magnetic shield, I tried to get my hands on the source code of this WSA-ENLIL model. I dug through the internet without success. The only option would be to request a run with specific parameters, though defining such specific parameters (e.g. ones who actually weren’t intended by the creator) is impossible without an extensive documentation or the source code. I found this option at the Community coordinated modeling center (CCMC) run by NASA.

In an old school attempt, I wrote an email describing my issue to the CCMC model hosts. And someone answered! Someone from NASA wrote me an email. This absolutely made my week and is still absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, they could not help me with my request of the WSA-ENLIL model. It is not open source, only model runs can be requested. But they told me about an alternative, the Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF) created and maintained openly with the University of Michigan. Welp. So now they not only answered, they also supported me. And the SWMF apparently is an absolutely powerful tool. The documentation is insanely good and I immediately had the feeling, that it will make my simulation efforts a whole lot easier. I’m currently doing baby steps with a program designed for super computers by absolute experts in their field.

It took me quite a while to get the model up and running on my system. This is also a work in progress for me, since the options are basically unlimited. However, to again show you something I had the model produce 3D-data of the earth’s magnetosphere. Enjoy, but don’t use it for any scientific purposes. I am by no means sure, I gave the model physically authentic input.

So after releasing the last blog post, I would’ve never guessed, where my project would lead me. You can be sure, that I love this path, though. My plan for the next one is a bit vague. Since in the meantime some people of the real life told me “I have no idea, what you are doing there”, I’d like to give some insight about how using this model actually looks. But we will see about the future.

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