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Comparison of model predictions for the composition of the ionosphere of Mars to MAVEN NGIMS data

Abstract : Prior to the arrival of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft at Mars, the only available measurements of the composition of the planet's ionosphere were those acquired by the two Viking Landers during their atmospheric entries. Many numerical models of the composition of the ionosphere of Mars have been developed, but these have only been validated for species, altitudes, and conditions for which Viking data exist. Here we compare the ionospheric composition and structure predicted by 10 ionospheric models at solar zenith angles of 45–60° against ion density measurements acquired by the MAVEN Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS). The most successful models included three-dimensional plasma transport driven by interactions with the surrounding space environment but had relatively simple ionospheric chemistry.
Keywords : ionosphere Mars
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Paul Withers, Marissa Vogt, Majd Mayyasi, Paul Mahaffy, Mehdi Benna, et al.. Comparison of model predictions for the composition of the ionosphere of Mars to MAVEN NGIMS data. Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2015, 42 (21), pp.8966-8976. ⟨10.1002/2015GL065205⟩. ⟨insu-01238399⟩

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