Analysis of Solar Wind Plasma Properties of Co-Rotating Interaction Regions at Mars with MSL/RAD

Monday, 15 December 2014
Henning Lohf1, Jan Kohler1, Cary J Zeitlin2, Bent Ehresmann3, Jingnan Guo1, R F Wimmer-Schweingruber1, Don Hassler4, Guenther Reitz5, Arik Posner6, Bernd Heber1, Jan Kristoffer Appel1, Daniel Matthiae5, David E Brinza7, Eddie Weigle8, Stephan I Böttcher1, Sönke Burmeister9, Cesar Martin-Garcia1, Eckhard Boehm1, Scot CR Rafkin3, Henrik Kahanpää10, Javier Martín-Torres11 and Maria-Paz Zorzano12, (1)University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, (2)Southwest Research Institute, Durham, NH, United States, (3)Southwest Research Institute Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)Southwest Research Inst, Boulder, CO, United States, (5)German Aerospace Center DLR Cologne, Cologne, Germany, (6)NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, United States, (7)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (8)Big Head Endian, Burden, KS, United States, (9)Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics, Extraterrestrial Physics, Kiel, Germany, (10)Finnish Meteorological Inst, Helsinki, Finland, (11)Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra, Granada, Spain, (12)INTA-CSIC, Madrid, Spain
The measurements of the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) onboard Mars Science Laboratory's rover Curiosity have given us the very first opportunity to evaluate the radiation environment on the surface of Mars, which consists mostly of Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and secondary particles created in the Martian Atmosphere. The solar wind can have an influence on the modulation of the GCR, e.g. when the fast solar wind (~ 750 km/s) interacts with the slow solar wind (~ 400 km/s) at so-called Stream Interaction Regions (SIRs) resulting in an enhancement of the local magnetic field which could affect the shielding of GCRs. SIRs often occur periodically as Co-rotating Interaction Regions (CIRs) which may-be observed at Mars as a decrease in the radiation data measured by MSL/RAD. Considering the difference of the Earth-Mars orbit, we correlate these in-situ radiation data at Mars with the solar wind properties measured by spacecrafts at 1 AU, with the aim to eventually determine the solar wind properties at Mars based on MSL/RAD measurements.