When the solar wind reaches the Mars obstacle, mass loading by planetary ions slows down the solar wind and raises the bow shock. The Martian atmosphere is undergoing the a scavenging by the solar wind without the protection of a global magnetic field. Atmospheric escape
is an important process for the evolution of the Martian climate. For present Mars, the dominant escape of atmospheric neutrals is through four channels: Jeans escape, photochemical reactions, sputtering and electron impact ionization. Ions above the exobase get accelerated by the solar wind electric field and can escape.
We here apply a new method for estimating heavy ion (O+, O2+, and CO2+) escape rates at Mars, which combines a hybrid model and observations. We use observed upstream solar wind parameters as input for a hybrid plasma model, where the total ion upflux at the exobase
is a free parameter. We then vary this ion upflux to find the best fit to the observed bow shock location. This method gives us a self-consistent description of the Mars-solar wind interaction, which can be used to study other properties of the solar wind interaction besides escape.
Created 2023-05-10 13:09:47 by Mats HolmstrÃ¶m Last changed 2023-05-12 11:16:41 by Mats HolmstrÃ¶m