Magnetic activity at Mars - Mars Surface Magnetic Observatory

Susanne Vennerstrøm, M. Menvielle, José M.G. Merayo, Thea Vilstrup Falkenberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    We use the extensive database of magnetic observations from the Mars Global Surveyor to investigate magnetic disturbances in the Martian space environment statistically, both close to and far from crustal anomalies. We discuss the results in terms of possible ionospheric and magnetospheric currents, and use this to provide an estimate of the expected magnetic disturbances at the Martian surface. Far from crustal anomaly regions the expected magnetic disturbances originating from currents associated with the induced magnetosphere are very weak at the day-side, but most likely larger on the night-side. Close to crustal anomalies the expected surface perturbation is larger and more variable both in space and time. It is important to note that these variations are not confined to the intense crustal anomalies in the southern hemisphere, but occur in large parts of the equatorial region. The disturbances around medium intensity radial anomalies in the equatorial region appear to derive from local current loops or vortices around cusp-like radial fields, acting to partly cancel the crustal field. The radial perturbation is further found to depend on upstream solar wind dynamic pressure. We define a magnetic experiment at the martian surface, the Mars Surface Magnetic Observatory (MSMO) including the science objectives, science experiment requirements, instrument and basic operations. We find the experiment to be feasible within the constraints of proposed stationary landing platforms.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPlanetary and Space Science
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)364-375
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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