Ionospheric plasma density variations observed at Mars by MAVEN/LPW
2015 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 42, no 21, 8862-8869 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
We report on initial observations made by the Langmuir Probe and Waves relaxation sounding experiment on board the NASA Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission. These measurements yield the ionospheric thermal plasma density, and we use these data here for an initial survey of its variability. Studying orbit-to-orbit variations, we show that the relative variability of the ionospheric plasma density is lowest at low altitudes near the photochemical peak, steadily increases toward higher altitudes and sharply increases as the spacecraft crosses the terminator and moves into the nightside. Finally, despite the small volume of data currently available, we show that a clear signature of the influence of crustal magnetic fields on the thermal plasma density fluctuations is visible. Such results are consistent with previously reported remote measurements made at higher altitudes, but crucially, here we sample a new span of altitudes between similar to 130 and similar to 300 km using in situ techniques.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 42, no 21, 8862-8869 p.
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-277905DOI: 10.1002/2015GL065241ISI: 000368336800009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-277905DiVA: diva2:906836
FunderSwedish Research Council, DNR 621-2014-5526