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A clear view of the multifaceted dayside ionosphere of Mars

P. Withers, K. Fallows, Z. Girazian, M. Matta, B. Hšusler, D. Hinson, L. Tyler, D. Morgan, M. Pštzold, K. Peter, S. Tellmann, J. Peralta, O. Witasse

Abstract
By examining electron density profiles from the Mars Express Radio Science Experiment MaRS, we show that the vertical structure of the dayside ionosphere of Mars is more variable and more complex than previously thought. The top of the ionosphere can be below 250 km(25% occurrence rate) or above 650 km(1%); the topside ionosphere can be well-described by a single scale height(10%) or two/three regions with distinct scale heights(25% or 10%),where those scale heights range between tens and hundreds of kilometers; the main layer of the ionosphere can have a sharply pointed(5%),flat-topped(6%),or wavy(8%) shape, in contrast to its usual Chapman-like shape; a broad increase in electron density is detected at 160-180 km(10%); a narrow increase in electron density is sometimes found in strongly-magnetized regions; and an additional layer is present between the M1 and M2 layers(3%).

Keywords
Planetary: Sciences - Solid: Surface: Planets - Ionospheres:(2459) - Planetary: Sciences - Solar: System: Objects - Mars

Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 39, Number 18, Page L18202_1
2012 September

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Instituto de Astrof√≠sica e Ci√™ncias do Espa√ßo Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia