Determining the manner by which plasma is transferred from one region to another has been one of space plasma physics' primary objectives since the birth of the discipline. Of the various proposed mechanisms, magnetic reconnection is generally believed to predominate, although other boundary instabilities and diffusive processes may also play a role.
The magnetosphere provides an excellent laboratory in which to investigate these processes and as such we have benefited from a number of space missions to examine boundary regions, both in situ (e.g., ISEE, Interball, Geotail) and remotely (e.g., Polar, IMAGE). It is only recently however, with the successful launch and operation of multi-spaceraft missions (Cluster, Double Star and THEMIS), that we have been able to distinguish between temporal and spatial variations, leading to breakthroughs in our understanding of the local plasma processes and boundaries of the magnetosphere.
These recent observations provide glimpses of the micro- and multi-scale processes that will be the focus of future missions like MMS, SCOPE, and Cross-Scale.
This session invites papers examining the various processes (both reconnection and otherwise) at work in the boundary layers of the magnetosphere including their dynamic response to variable solar wind and magnetosheath conditions. Of particular relevance are studies involving multi-spacecraft data combining recent Cluster, Double Star, THEMIS and Geotail data, simulations and also submissions relating to the future direction of space plasma science in the context of these results.