Space Science Reviews

, Volume 195, Issue 1–4, pp 423–456 | Cite as

The Aeronomy of Mars: Characterization by MAVEN of the Upper Atmosphere Reservoir That Regulates Volatile Escape

  • S. W. Bougher
  • T. E. Cravens
  • J. Grebowsky
  • J. Luhmann
Article

Abstract

The Mars thermosphere-ionosphere-exosphere (TIE) system constitutes the atmospheric reservoir (i.e. available cold and hot planetary neutral and thermal ion species) that regulates present day escape processes from the planet. The characterization of this TIE system, including its spatial and temporal (e.g., solar cycle, seasonal, diurnal, episodic) variability is needed to determine present day escape rates. Without knowledge of the physics and chemistry creating this TIE region and driving its variations, it is not possible to constrain either the short term or long term histories of atmosphere escape from Mars. MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) will make both in-situ and remote measurements of the state variables of the Martian TIE system. A full characterization of the thermosphere (∼100–250 km) and ionosphere (∼100–400 km) structure (and its variability) will be conducted with the collection of spacecraft in-situ measurements that systematically span most local times and latitudes, over a regular sampling of Mars seasons, and throughout the bottom half of the solar cycle. Such sampling will far surpass that available from existing spacecraft and ground-based datasets. In addition, remote measurements will provide a systematic mapping of the composition and structure of Mars neutral upper atmosphere and coronae (e.g. H, C, N, O), as well as probe lower altitudes. Such a detailed characterization is a necessary first step toward answering MAVEN’s three main science questions (see Jakosky et al. 2014, this issue). This information will be used to determine present day escape rates from Mars, and provide an estimate of integrated loss to space throughout Mars history.

Keywords

Mars Aeronomy Thermosphere Ionosphere MAVEN Mission 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. W. Bougher
    • 1
  • T. E. Cravens
    • 2
  • J. Grebowsky
    • 3
  • J. Luhmann
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physics & AstronomyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  4. 4.Space Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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