October 14, 2014

Global response of martian plasma environment to an interplanetary structure: From ena and plasma observations at mars

Futaana Y., Barabash S., Grigoriev A., Winningham D., Frahm R., Yamauchi M., Lundin R.
Space Science Reviews

Summary: As a part of the global plasma environment study of Mars and its response to the solar wind, we have analyzed a peculiar case of the subsolar energetic neutral atom (ENA) jet observed on June 7, 2004 by the Neutral Particle Detector (NPD) on board the Mars Express satellite. The "subsolar ENA jet" is generated by the interaction between the solar wind and the Martian exosphere, and is one of the most intense sources of ENA flux observed in the vicinity of Mars. On June 7, 2004 (orbit 485 of Mars Express), the NPD observed a very intense subsolar ENA jet, which then abruptly decreased within 10 sec followed by quasi-periodic (1 min) flux variations. Simultaneously, the plasma sensors detected a solar wind structure, which was most likely an interplanetary shock surface. The abrupt decrease of the ENA flux and the quasi-periodic flux variations can be understood in the framework of the global response of the Martian plasma obstacle to the interplanetary shock. The generation region of the subsolar ENA jet was pushed towards the planet by the interplanetary shock; and therefore, Mars Express went out of the ENA jet region. Associated global vibrations of the Martian plasma obstacle may have been the cause of the quasi-periodic flux variations of the ENA flux at the spacecraft location. © Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007.