When used appropriately, taking into account the effects of the mechanical attenuator and the telemetry mode, and correcting when necessary for the effects of penetrating and scattered backgrounds, limited energy‐angle coverage, and multi‐ion distributions, SWIA provides high‐quality measurements of the solar wind density, velocity, temperature, and 3‐D velocity distributions upstream from the bow shock and in the magnetosheath of Mars. As shown in Figure 5 (third panel), the charge exchange rate upstream of the shock must vary with time, since we observe a large decrease in the median penetrating proton density over the MAVEN mission, in addition to the expected solar wind variability. When engaged, the attenuator reduces the sensitivity over the sunward facing portion of the FOV, with a maximum attenuation factor of 15 for an instrument phi range of ±45° from the spacecraft Z axis, and incrementally reduced attenuation at greater angles [see Halekas et al., 2015a]. These observations can be used to organize the data from other MAVEN instruments, including the critical measurements of ion escape from the Martian system [Brain et al., 2015; Dong et al., 2015]. Geophysics, Biological The plasma in these structures, though strongly heated, still has a net antisunward bulk flow. MAVEN deputy principle investigator Janet Luhmann, also at SSL, said by measuring the solar wind's density and velocity, SWIA could help determine whether gusts of denser, faster solar wind contribute to greater atmospheric loss. This imbalance may result from the presence of convected magnetic structures [Tu and Marsch, 1991] and/or the affects of anisotropic pressure and relative streaming on the Alfvén velocity [Bavassano et al., 1998; Goldstein et al., 1995]. Despite these limitations, the SWIA measurements do show a clear transition near the IMB/MPB location found by previous studies, particularly in the subsolar region of the magnetosphere. The Student's t test and the Mann‐Whitney U test [Corder and Foreman, 2014] indicate that the distributions obtained during the prime mission differ from those from cruise to a high degree of significance (the chance of the distributions having the same mean or median is zero to the accuracy of floating point arithmetic). The SWIA therefore characterizes the nature of solar wind interactions within the upper atmosphere. Of the solar wind parameters considered, only the IMF direction appears to play a major role. Seasonal variability of Martian ion escape through the plume and tail from MAVEN observations. We find similar occurrence rates of upstream events of both types in each of the 2 months, implying that EUV or other seasonal effects most likely do not play a major role. These variations may include a solar cycle component but likely primarily reflect the changing heliocentric distance of Mars. Unusually high magnetic fields in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during its high-activity phase. The sunward reflected flux present in the surrounding time periods largely disappears during the interval shown in Figure 15, suggesting either that the structure of the bow shock downstream from the spacecraft has changed and/or that reflected protons from the downstream bow shock cannot penetrate these structures. These introduce significant excursions in IMF strength and dynamic pressure, beyond the normal level of variability in the nominal solar wind. Scientists think the interactions between solar wind ions and Mars' atmospheric particles are a key factor allowing the particles to escape, a process that gradually strips the planet of its atmosphere and has done so for billions of years. Autocorrelation Study of Solar Wind Plasma and IMF Properties as Measured by the MAVEN Spacecraft. The Suprathermal and Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) sensor [McFadden et al., 2015], designed to measure heavy ions in the magnetosphere, covers energies below 25 eV (in addition to the SWIA energy range) and provides mass composition information at all energies. We then computed averages of important solar wind quantities over the upstream portion of each MAVEN orbit and also over intervals with durations of 1/360 of the orbit (~45 s). However, the interaction still displays complex structure. Electron Density Profiles in the Upper Ionosphere of Mars From 11 Years of MARSIS Data: Variability Due to Seasons, Solar Cycle, and Crustal Magnetic Fields. For more information about the MAVEN mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/maven This information will be used to estimate losses in the past, when solar wind gusts may have been prevalent thanks to an early, more active sun. Energetic cosmic rays (or solar energetic particles) can penetrate the instrument housing and stimulate the detectors, creating a uniform background present over all accumulation intervals (not varying with energy or deflection step). Auroras appear on Earth as ghostly displays of colorful light in the night sky, usually near the poles. The orbit shown in Figure 2 took place during relatively steady IMF conditions, with a nominal +By/−Bx Parker spiral geometry.

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