Journal Highlights

Where the Solar Wind Meets Mars

Editors' Highlight—

A comprehensive look at how the solar wind is diverted around Mars, including the relative strength of the three biggest forces at work in this region.

Mars, without a strong internal dipole magnetic field, is a place where the supersonic solar wind directly contacts the planet’s upper atmosphere. Using a large set of data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission, Halekas et al. [2017] examine some properties of the solar wind in that interaction region, especially velocity distributions that might lead to plasma waves. The paper discusses this effect, plus provides a calculation of the large-scale force terms and their relationship to possible planetary ion loss. The conclusion isn’t surprising: the VxB “pick-up” force is largest and should dominate planetary ion loss. It’s nice to see the comparison with other terms in this robust combination of case studies and statistical analysis....more

-- Mike Liemohn, Editor-in-Chief, JGR: Space Physics,

Article Category
Research Articles
Magnetospheric Physics

Flows, Fields, and Forces in the Mars‐Solar Wind Interaction

J. S. Halekas, D. A. Brain, J. G. Luhmann, G. A. DiBraccio, S. Ruhunusiri, Y. Harada, C. M. Fowler, D. L. Mitchell, J. E. P. Connerney, J. R. Espley, C. Mazelle, B. M. Jakosky
First Published:
| Vol:
123,
Pages
11,320–11,341
| DOI:
10.1002/2017JA024772