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Permanent Presence of Meteoritic Metal Ions in Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

Science Spotlights

Permanent Presence of Meteoritic Metal Ions in Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

Neutral metal ions (including Mg+, Fe+ and Na+), which have been well studied on Earth, have long chemical lifetimes and readily disperse to high altitudes from their production region in the mesosphere, but they have never been directly detected at any other planet. The MAVEN Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) has now provided observations of these neutral metal atoms/ions at Mars for the first time.

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