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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 126, Issue 1–4, pp 77–112 | Cite as

Mars Global Surveyor Measurements of the Martian Solar Wind Interaction

  • D. A. BrainEmail author
Article

Abstract

The solar wind at Mars interacts with the extended atmosphere and small-scale crustal magnetic fields. This interaction shares elements with a variety of solar system bodies, and has direct bearing on studies of the long-term evolution of the Martian atmosphere, the structure of the upper atmosphere, and fundamental plasma processes. The magnetometer (MAG) and electron reflectometer (ER) on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) continue to make many contributions toward understanding the plasma environment, thanks in large part to a spacecraft orbit that had low periapsis, had good coverage of the interaction region, and has been long-lived in its mapping orbit. The crustal magnetic fields discovered using MGS data perturb plasma boundaries on timescales associated with Mars' rotation and enable a complex magnetic field topology near the planet. Every portion of the plasma environment has been sampled by MGS, confirming previous measurements and making new discoveries in each region. The entire system is highly variable, and responds to changes in solar EUV flux, upstream pressure, IMF direction, and the orientation of Mars with respect to the Sun and solar wind flow. New insights from MGS should come from future analysis of new and existing data, as well as multi-spacecraft observations.

Keywords

Mars MGS magnetosphere solar wind interaction 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Berkeley Space Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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