Science Seminars

11/19/2014 Seminar – The Martian Ionosphere and Induced Magnetosphere, studied with Mars Express

Speaker: David Andrews (Swedish Institute of Space Physics)
Date: Thursday, Nov 19, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

Because of the lack of an active dynamo, Mars does not posses a dipolar magnetic field capable of forming a magnetospheric cavity like that found at Earth.  Instead, the solar wind interacts directly with the upper atmosphere and ionosphere of the planet. A ‘draped’ or ‘induced’ magnetosphere is formed, which rapidly alters with changing solar wind conditions, the strong seasonal variations, and the rotation of Mars’ highly asymmetric crustal fields. However, several interesting features of the Mars-solar wind interaction also display remarkable stability despite this. I will present a brief overview of the Martian ionosphere as studied in particular using recent Mars Express data, focussing in particular on observations made with the MARSIS radar, which can accurately determine the thermal ionospheric plasma density in the vicinity of the spacecraft.