Mars ionopause during solar minimum: A lesson from Venus

Mahajan, K. K. ; Mayr, H. G. (1990) Mars ionopause during solar minimum: A lesson from Venus Journal of Geophysical Research, 95 (A6). pp. 8265-8269. ISSN 0148-0227

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The ion densities measured by the Viking landers (Hanson et al., 1977) do not show an abrupt falloff with height, giving the false impression that Mars has no ionopause. On the basis of knowledge gained from the solar wind interaction at Venus during solar minimum, we demonstrate that the observed O2 + profile above about 160 km on Mars is a distributed photodynamical ionosphere and can produce an ionopause at around 325 km, similar to that observed on Venus during solar minimum. We conclude that the solar wind interacts directly with the Mars ionosphere, suggesting that the planet does not have an intrinsic magnetic field of any consequence.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Geophysical Union.
ID Code:75776
Deposited On:27 Dec 2011 12:41
Last Modified:27 Dec 2011 12:41

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