October 14, 2014

Investigation of the influence of magnetic anomalies on ion distributions at Mars

Nilsson H. et Al.
Space Science Reviews, 126,1-4,355-372

Summary: Using data from the Mars Express Ion Mass Analyzer (IMA) we investigate the distribution of ion beams of planetary origin and search for an influence from Mars crustal magnetic anomalies. We have concentrated on ion beams observed inside the induced magnetosphere boundary (magnetic pile-up boundary). Some north-south asymmetry is seen in the data, but no longitudinal structure resembling that of the crustal anomalies. Comparing the occurrence rate of ion beams with magnetic field strength at 400 km altitude below the spacecraft (using statistical Mars Global Surveyor results) shows a decrease of the occurrence rate for modest (< 40 nT) magnetic fields. Higher magnetic field regions (above 40 nT at 400 km) are sampled so seldom that the statistics are poor but the data is consistent with some ion outflow events being closely associated with the stronger anomalies. This ion flow does not significantly affect the overall distribution of ion beams around Mars.