Evaluating Local Ionization Balance in the Nightside Martian Upper Atmosphere during MAVEN Deep Dip Campaigns
Yelle, R. V.
Edberg, N. J. T.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Lab
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherIOP PUBLISHING LTD
CitationJ. Cui et al 2019 ApJL 876 L12
JournalASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS
RightsCopyright © 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractCombining the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) measurements of atmospheric neutral and ion densities, electron temperature, and energetic electron intensity, we perform the first quantitative evaluation of local ionization balance in the nightside Martian upper atmosphere, a condition with the electron impact ionization (EI) of CO2 exactly balanced by the dissociative recombination (DR) of ambient ions. The data accumulated during two MAVEN Deep Dip (DD) campaigns are included: DD6 on the deep nightside with a periapsis solar zenith angle (SZA) of 165 degrees, and DD3 close to the dawn terminator with a periapsis SZA of 110 degrees. With the electron temperatures at low altitudes corrected for an instrumental effect pertaining to the MAVEN Langmuir Probe and Waves, a statistical agreement between the EI and DR rates is suggested by the data below 140 km during DD6 and below 180 km during DD3, implying that electron precipitation is responsible for the nightside Martian ionosphere under these circumstances and extra sources are not required. In contrast, a substantial enhancement in EI over DR is observed at higher altitudes during both campaigns, which we interpret as a signature of plasma escape down the tail.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsStrategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences [XDA17010201]; National Science Foundation of China [41525015, 41774186, 41525016]; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Swedish National Space Agency [135/13, 166/14]; Swedish Research Council [621-2013-4191]