Solar Wind Interaction with the Martian Upper Atmosphere at Early Mars/Extreme Solar Conditions
Abstract:The investigation of ion escape fluxes from Mars, resulting from the solar wind interaction with its upper atmosphere/ionosphere, is important due to its potential impact on the long-term evolution of Mars atmosphere (e.g., loss of water) over its history. In the present work, we adopt the 3-D Mars cold neutral atmosphere profiles (0 ~ 300 km) from the newly developed and validated Mars Global Ionosphere Thermosphere Model (M-GITM) and the 3-D hot oxygen profiles (100 km ~ 5 RM) from the exosphere Monte Carlo model Adaptive Mesh Particle Simulator (AMPS). We apply these 3-D model output fields into the 3-D BATS-R-US Mars multi-fluid MHD (MF-MHD) model (100 km ~ 20 RM) that can simulate the interplay between Mars upper atmosphere and solar wind by considering the dynamics of individual ion species. The multi-fluid MHD model solves separate continuity, momentum and energy equations for each ion species (H+, O+, O2+, CO2+). The M-GITM model together with the AMPS exosphere model take into account the effects of solar cycle and seasonal variations on both cold and hot neutral atmospheres. This feature allows us to investigate the corresponding effects on the Mars upper atmosphere ion escape by using a one-way coupling approach, i.e., both the M-GITM and AMPS model output fields are used as the input for the multi-fluid MHD model and the M-GITM is used as input into the AMPS exosphere model.
In this study, we present M-GITM, AMPS, and MF-MHD calculations (1-way coupled) for 2.5 GYA conditions and/or extreme solar conditions for present day Mars (high solar wind velocities, high solar wind dynamic pressure, and high solar irradiance conditions, etc.). Present day extreme conditions may result in MF-MHD outputs that are similar to 2.5 GYA cases. The crustal field orientations are also considered in this study. By comparing estimates of past ion escape rates with the current ion loss rates to be returned by the MAVEN spacecraft (2013-2016), we can better constrain the total ion loss to space over Mars history, and thus enhance the science returned from the MAVEN mission.