Science Seminars

Large-scale ionospheric and magnetospheric effects by Mars crustal magnetic anomalies

Speaker: Xiaohua Fang (LASP)
Date: Thursday, Nov 16, 2017
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

Today’s Mars has no intrinsic dipole magnetic field but locally concentrated magnetic anomalies in the crust particularly in the southern hemisphere. This fact makes the Mars-solar wind interaction unique, not only different from the interaction of the solar wind with planets that have strong magnetic fields (like Earth, Jupiter), but also different from the solar wind interaction with unmagnetized solar system bodies (like Venus, comets). The highly non- uniform distribution of the Mars crustal magnetic field, together with continuous rotation of the planet, add significant complexity to the interaction processes and their dynamics. Besides local and small-scale perturbation and dynamics (such as aurora activities), it has been found that the crustal field is also important on a planetary scale. I will discuss my recent work on investigating the Mars crustal magnetic field control on a number of aspects, including the magnetic field configuration and topology, locations of plasma boundaries (bow shock and the induced magnetospheric boundary), dayside ionospheric density and temperature, planetary heavy ion transport and atmospheric escape, and pickup ion bombardment effects on the thermosphere. These research efforts involve the application and development of global numerical models (steady and time-dependent MHD models and a MHD-field-based Monte Carlo model) and analysis of the data from the ongoing NASA Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN). I will also discuss future directions for my research particularly related to the Mars crustal magnetic field.