The Solar Wind Ion Analyzer for MAVEN

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Abstract

The Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) on the MAVEN mission will measure the solar wind ion flows around Mars, both in the upstream solar wind and in the magneto-sheath and tail regions inside the bow shock. The solar wind flux provides one of the key energy inputs that can drive atmospheric escape from the Martian system, as well as in part controlling the structure of the magnetosphere through which non-thermal ion escape must take place. SWIA measurements contribute to the top level MAVEN goals of characterizing the upper atmosphere and the processes that operate there, and parameterizing the escape of atmospheric gases to extrapolate the total loss to space throughout Mars’ history. To accomplish these goals, SWIA utilizes a toroidal energy analyzer with electrostatic deflectors to provide a broad 360×90 field of view on a 3-axis spacecraft, with a mechanical attenuator to enable a very high dynamic range. SWIA provides high cadence measurements of ion velocity distributions with high energy resolution (14.5 %) and angular resolution (3.75×4.5 in the sunward direction, 22.5×22.5 elsewhere), and a broad energy range of 5 eV to 25 keV. Onboard computation of bulk moments and energy spectra enable measurements of the basic properties of the solar wind at 0.25 Hz.