October 14, 2014

Asymmetries in mars' exosphere: Implications for X-ray and ENA imaging

Holmstrom M. et Al.
Space Science Reviews, 126,1-4,435-445

Summary: Observations and simulations show that Mars' atmosphere has large seasonal variations. Total atmospheric density can have an order of magnitude latitudinal variation at exobase heights. By numerical simulations we show that these latitude variations in exobase parameters induce asymmetries in the hydrogen exosphere that propagate to large distances from the planet. We show that these asymmetries in the exosphere produce asymmetries in the fluxes of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) and soft X-rays produced by charge exchange between the solar wind and exospheric hydrogen. This could be an explanation for asymmetries that have been observed in ENA and X-ray fluxes at Mars.