PhysOrg: Lost into space: Impact of solar wind on Mars

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PhysOrg: Lost into space: Impact of solar wind on Mars

Post by bystander » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:45 pm

Lost into space: Physicists study impact of solar wind on Mars atmosphere
PhysOrg Space Exploration - 2010 March 12
Space physicists from the University of Leicester are part of an international team that has identified the impact of the Sun on Mars' atmosphere.

Writing in the AGU journal Geophysics Research Letters, the scientists report that Mars is constantly losing part of its atmosphere to space.

The new study shows that pressure from solar wind pulses is a significant contributor to Mars's atmospheric escape.

The researchers analysed solar wind data and satellite observations that track the flux of heavy ions leaving Mars's atmosphere. The authors found that Mars's atmosphere does not drift away at a steady pace; instead, atmospheric escape occurs in bursts.
Solar wind pulses help blow away martian atmosphere
Astronomy.com: American Geophysical Union - 2010 March 11
Scientists found that Mars' atmosphere does not drift away at a steady pace; instead, atmospheric escape occurs in bursts.

Mars is constantly losing parts of its atmosphere to space. The processes driving that loss of atmosphere are not understood completely. A new study shows that pressure from solar wind pulses is a significant contributor to Mars' atmospheric escape.
University of Leicester Press Release - 2010 March 12

Pumping out the atmosphere of Mars through solar wind pressure pulses