Mars ionosphere: a review of experimental results and modeling studies

Haider, Syed Aftab ; Mahajan, Kushal Kumar ; Kallio, Esa Jukka (2011) Mars ionosphere: a review of experimental results and modeling studies Reviews of Geophysics, 49 . RG4001_1-RG4001_37. ISSN 8755-1209

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In this paper we review results from atmospheric and ionospheric experiments on the early planetary missions like the Mariners, the Mars, the Viking 1 and 2 Orbiters/ Landers. We then discuss the new results obtained from the two latest missions namely the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and the Mars Express (MEX). The MGS had three ionospheric and atmospheric related experiments, namely: (1) the Radio Science experiment, which generated 5600 electron density profiles covering a major portion of sunspot cycle 23, (2) the Magnetometer/Electron Reflectometer experiment, which very clearly answered the question about the presence or absence of Martian intrinsic magnetic field, and (3) the Accelerometer experiment, which provided a large data base of atmospheric density at various Martian locations during the aerobraking phases. The topside sounder on the MEX provided electron density profiles for altitudes above the primary ionospheric peak with a very high time-resolution, thereby providing opportunity for exploring ionospheric conditions during events of rapid changes like solar flares. Unlike Venus, where simultaneous electron density, ion density and magnetic field measurements were made, Mars lacks this kind of information. Consequently most of our current understanding of Mars plasma environment is based upon theoretical models. We therefore review the various atmospheric and ionospheric models for Mars, which have been generated during last four decades.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Geophysical Union.
Keywords:Martian Atmosphere; Martian Ionosphere
ID Code:63301
Deposited On:28 Sep 2011 10:42
Last Modified:26 Dec 2011 08:38

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