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A statistical study of proton precipitation onto the Martian upper atmosphere: Mars Express observations
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering.
Swedish Institute of Space Physics / Institutet för rymdfysik.
Swedish Institute of Space Physics / Institutet för rymdfysik.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, 1972-1983 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Due to the small size of the Martian magnetic pile-up region, especially at the subsolar point, heated protons with high enough energy can penetrate the induced magnetosphere boundary (IMB) without being backscattered, i.e., they precipitate. We present a statistical study of the downgoing ~ keV proton fluxes measured in the Martian ionosphere by the Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA-3) experiment onboard the Mars Express spacecraft. We find that on the dayside, the events of proton penetration occur during 3% of the observation time: the precipitation is an intermittent phenomenon. The proton events carry on average ~0.2% of the incident solar wind flux. Therefore, the induced magnetosphere is an effective shield against the magnetosheath protons. The events are more frequent during fast solar wind conditions than during slow solar wind conditions. The sporadic proton penetration is thought to be caused by transient increases in the magnetosheath temperature. The precipitating flux is higher on the dayside than on the nightside, and its spatial deposition is controlled by the solar wind convective electric field. The largest crustal magnetic anomalies tend to decrease the proton precipitation in the Southern hemisphere. The particle and energy fluxes vary in the range 104-106 cm-2 s-1 and 107-109 eVcm-2 s-1, respectively. The corresponding heating for the dayside atmosphere is on average negligible compared to the solar extreme ultraviolet heating, although the intermittent penetration may cause local ionization. The net precipitating proton particle flux input to the dayside ionosphere is estimated as 1.2 · 1021 s-1.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 1972-1983 p.
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Space Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-12223DOI: 10.1002/jgra.50229Local ID: b52e75da-88f5-4b37-b4b9-c3b3693cf7bbOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-12223DiVA: diva2:985173
Note
Validerad; 2013; 20130320 (ysko)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2017-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Dieval, CatherineBarabash, Stas

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