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Journal Articles Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics Year : 2017

MAVEN and the total electron content of the Martian ionosphere

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Abstract

Model studies of the ionosphere of Mars under daytime conditions reveal that for solar zenith angles (SZAs) of 0°-40°, the shapes and magnitudes of the electron density profiles Ne(h) change by only small amounts. This suggests that mid-day observations made by MAVEN instruments along slanted orbit segments can be used to represent vertical profiles. The total electron content (TEC), defined as the height integral of Ne(h), is a measure of the cold plasma reservoir of the martian ionosphere. During MAVEN's Deep-Dip-#2 campaign of April 2015, observations of total ion density by NGIMS and electron density by LPW from periapse (~130 km) to 400 km were used to form < TEC > topside—validated by independent diagnostics and models. Orbit-by-orbit changes in topside TEC were then used to assess the magnitudes of plasma escape associated with both large and small changes in the topside slope of Ne(h)—called an “ionopause episode.” The TEC changes due to these episodes, generalized to a global change, resulted in an escape flux of ~3 - 6 x 1024 ions/sec, an escape rate consistent with prior observation by Phobos-2, Mars Express, and MAVEN's own in-situ studies.
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Dates and versions

insu-01471028 , version 1 (31-08-2020)

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Michael Mendillo, Clara Narvaez, Marissa F. Vogt, Majd Mayyasi, Paul Mahaffy, et al.. MAVEN and the total electron content of the Martian ionosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, 2017, 122 (3), pp.3526-3537. ⟨10.1002/2016JA023474⟩. ⟨insu-01471028⟩
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