Solar wind pulses help erode the Martian atmosphere
Mars is constantly losing parts of its atmosphere to space. The processes driving that loss of atmosphere are not completely understood. A new study shows that pressure from solar wind pulses is a significant contributor to Mars's atmospheric escape.
Niklas Edberg (now at IRF in Uppsala) and his co-authors find that Mars's atmosphere does not drift away at a steady pace; instead, atmospheric escape occurs in bursts. The researchers relate those bursts of atmospheric loss to solar events known as corotating interaction regions. Their results appeared in Geophysical Research Letters paper 10.1029/2009GL041814, 2010. The article "Pumping out the atmosphere of Mars through solar wind pressure pulses" was chosen as an AGU Journal Highlight 8 March 2010.
Authors: N. J. T. Edberg: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK and Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala, Sweden;
H. Nilsson, S. Barabash and Y. Futaana: Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden;
A. O. Williams, M. Lester, S. E. Milan, and S. W. H. Cowley: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK;
M. Fränz: Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany.
AGU Journal Highlights 8 March 2010:
Created 2010-03-09 11:00:01 by Rick McGregorLast changed 2010-03-09 11:00:01 by Rick McGregor