The Martian Hot Oxygen Corona at Ancient times
Abstract:The evaluation of the global atomic oxygen loss rate and its changes over geologic time is necessary for a better understanding of the evolution of the Martian atmosphere. The recent surface geomorphological evidence suggests that water has played a key role in forming the present atmospheric environment. Throughout the planet’s history, the inventory of water has been affected in part by changing solar radiation and solar wind conditions. In this study, we investigate the evolution of the oxygen atom inventory by simulating the hot oxygen corona for solar conditions appropriate to about 2.5 Gyr ago (about 3 times the current solar EUV flux). Dissociative recombination of O2+ion is assumed to remain as the dominant source of hot atomic oxygen at ancient times.
To describe ancient Mars, we present the 3D self-consistent simulations of the Martian hot oxygen corona by one-way coupling our Adaptive Mesh Particle Simulator (AMPS) with the ancient thermosphere and ionosphere as simulated by the 3D Mars Global Ionosphere Thermosphere Model (M-GITM), a newly developed atmospheric model. The structure and composition of the Martian upper atmosphere and the hot oxygen corona during early solar conditions are compared with those at the current epoch to study the evolution of the macroscopic parameters and their effects on the hot oxygen corona. The coupled framework provides the density and escape probabilities of hot oxygen and estimates the global atmospheric loss rates for the conditions considered. These results are also being used as input into calculations of the global solar wind interaction with Mars’ atmosphere, ionosphere and exosphere.