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Solar Wind-Induced Atmospheric Erosion at Mars: First Results from ASPERA-3 on Mars Express

Solar Wind-Induced Atmospheric Erosion at Mars: First Results from ASPERA-3 on Mars Express

Publication date: 16 September 2004

Authors: Lundin, R. et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 305
Issue: 55692
Page: pp. 1933-1936
Year: 2004

Copyright: 2004 Science

The Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA) on board the Mars Express spacecraft found that solar wind plasma and accelerated ionospheric ions may be observed all the way down to the Mars Express pericenter of 270 kilometers above the dayside planetary surface. This is very deep in the ionosphere, implying direct exposure of the martian topside atmosphere to solar wind plasma forcing. The low-altitude penetration of solar wind plasma and the energization of ionospheric plasma may be due to solar wind irregularities or perturbations, to magnetic anomalies at Mars, or both.

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