October 14, 2014

On the properties of O+ and O2+ ions in a hybrid model and in Mars Express IMA/ASPERA-3 data: A case study

Kallio, E.; Fedorov, A.; Budnik, E.; Barabash, S.; Jarvinen, R.; Janhunen, P.
Planetary and Space Science, 56, Issue 9, p. 1204-1213

Summary: We have performed a numerical simulation to analyze the energy spectra of escaping planetary O+ and O2+ ions at Mars. The simulated time–energy spectrograms were generated along orbit no. 555 (June 27, 2004) of Mars Express when its Ion Mass Analyzer (IMA)/ASPERA-3 ion instrument detected escaping planetary ions. The simulated time–energy spectrograms are in general agreement with the hypothesis that planetary O+ and O2+ ions far from Mars are accelerated by the convective electric field. The HYB-Mars hybrid model simulation also shows that O+ ions originating from the ionized hot oxygen corona result in a high-energy (E>1 keV) O+ ion population that exists very close to Mars. In addition, the simulation also results in a low-energy (E<0.1 keV) planetary ion population near the pericenter. In the analyzed orbit, IMA did not observe a clear high-energy planetary ion or a clear low-energy planetary ion population near Mars. One possible source for this discrepancy may be the Martian magnetic crustal anomalies because MEX passed over a strong crustal field region near the pericenter, but the hybrid model does not include the magnetic crustal anomalies.