October 14, 2014

Carbon dioxide photoelectron energy peaks at Mars

Frahm R.A., Winningham J.D., Sharber J.R., Scherrer J.R., Jeffers S.J., Coates A.J., Linder D.R., Kataria D.O., Lundin R., Barabash S., Holmstrom M., Andersson H., Yamauchi M., Grigoriev A., Kallio E., Sales T., Riihela P., Schmidt W., Koskinen H., Kozyra J.U., Luhmann J.G., Roelof E.C., Williams D.J., Livi S., Curtis C.C., Hsieh K.C., Sandel B.R., Grande M., Carter M., Sauvaud J.-A., Fedorov A., Thocaven J.-J., McKenna-Lawler S., Orsini S., Cerulli-Irelli R., Maggi M., Wurz P., Bochsler P., Krupp N., Woch J., Franz M., Asamura K., Dierker C.

Summary: The ELectron Spectrometer (ELS) from the Analyzer of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA-3) flown on the Mars Express spacecraft has an 8% energy resolution, combined with the capability to oversample the martian electron distribution. This makes possible the resolution and identification of electrons generated as a result of the He 304 Å ionization of CO2 at the martian exobase on the dayside of the planet. Ionospheric photoelectrons were observed during almost every pass into the ionosphere and CO2 photoelectron peaks were identified near the terminator. Atmospherically generated CO2 photoelectrons are also observed at 10,000 km altitude in the martian tail near the inner magnetospheric boundary. Observations over a wide range of spacecraft orbits showed a consistent presence of photoelectrons at locations along the inner magnetospheric boundary and in the ionosphere, from an altitude of 250 to 10,000 km. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.