A steady state flow/field model of solar wind interaction with Mars
Stewart, Brian Keith
Cloutier, Paul A.
Master of Science
A steady state flow/field model is applied to the direct interaction of the solar wind with the Martian ionosphere. We have coupled observational data with the kinetic theory plasma equations within a single self-consistent framework. We do not imply that the interaction is purely ionospheric, but rather we show that a self-consistent, direct ionospheric interaction is feasible. The model demonstrates how the dynamic solar wind pressure is transferred to the ultimate obstacle, the planet itself, without the requirement of an intrinsic Martian magnetic field. The results of the model are in agreement with Viking observations, and hence make possible predictions of quantities as yet unmeasured within the Martian ionosphere. We predict that the magnetic field configuration of the Martian ionosphere may be similar to the "Venusian dip" structure observed by Pioneer Venus. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Astronomy; Astrophysics; Atmospheric sciences