National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Living With A Star

Targeted Research and Technology

Study of the Martian Ionospheric and Atmospheric Responses to Extreme Space Weather Events

ROSES ID: NNH07ZDA001N      Selection Year: 2008      

Program Element: Focused Science Topic

Principal Investigator: Yingjuan Ma

Affiliation(s): University of California Los Angeles

Project Member(s):
Liemohn, Michael W. Collaborator University of Michigan
Fang, Xiaohua Co-I University of Colorado
Nagy, Andrew F. Collaborator University of Michigan
Parkinson, Christopher Collaborator University of Michigan
Russell, Christopher T Collaborator University of California Los Angeles
Brain, Dave Collaborator University of Colorado at Boulder
Luhmann, Janet G. Collaborator University of California


As a weakly magnetized planet, Mars directly interacts with the solar wind. Under extreme solar wind conditions, the ion escape rate is estimated to be more than an order of magnitude larger than in normal situations. We propose to study the detailed responses and long-term consequences of the Martian ionosphere and atmosphere to extreme space weather events using two sophisticated 3D models. One is a global multi-species MHD model with a very high spatial resolution (~10 km inside the Martian ionosphere). This model calculates the densities of the solar wind protons and all the major ion species in the Martian ionosphere, as well as the plasma bulk velocities and energies. The Mars-solar wind interaction is self-consistently calculated in the model by including the effects of the crustal magnetic field, ion-neutral collisions, and major chemical reactions. Another numerical tool is a newly-created highly-parallelized test particle model, which is to address the kinetic effects of pick-up ions in the Martian plasma environment. The most novel feature of the test particle model is that more than one billion test particles are launched in the simulation domain. This substantial improvement enables an unprecedented examination of the pickup ion flux distribution in velocity space, which is not achievable in previous studies. In this proposal, the ionospheric and atmospheric particle escape from and precipitation into the Mars will be studied under the impact of extreme space weather events by comparing a variety of representative model runs. The study will also provide useful information for the understanding of the energetic charged particle environment on the surface of Mars, thus important for the evaluation of the survivability of life on or near the surface, including the health of future human explorers on Mars.


Performance YearReferenceInvestigation TypeActions
1Fang, Xiaohua; Bougher, Stephen W.; Johnson, Robert E...
not set


Performance YearReferenceActions
1Ma, Y.; Fang, X.; Nagy, A. F.; Russell, C. T.; (200...
1Luhmann, J. G.; McEnulty, T.; Ulusen, D.; Brain, D....
1Dong, C.; Bougher, S. W.; Ma, Y.; Toth, G.; Nagy, ...
1Fang, X.; Ma, Y.; Manchester, W.; (2013), Global ICME-M...

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