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Distribution of Gravity Wave Fluctuations in the Electron and Neutral Densities on Mars

Presentation #506.04 in the session “Mars Atmospheric Dynamics”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
Distribution of Gravity Wave Fluctuations in the Electron and Neutral Densities on Mars

The NASA Mars Atmosphere and Volatiles EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft has been collecting data in the Martian atmosphere since November 2014. Using ~6 years of neutral (Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer) and plasma density data (Langmuir Probe), we analyze the statistical trends of density perturbations with wavelengths of 20-300 km. The results include gravity waves and are investigated as a function of local time and altitude. We find that a significant portion of plasma variability in the ion-demagnetization region can be explained by fluctuations in the neutral atmosphere. Short wavelength neutral waves dissipate at lower altitudes leaving longer wavelength perturbations. Furthermore, the standard deviation of perturbations observed in electron and neutral densities agrees with previous studies in that more variability is observed at night. Examining the normalized wave-power at wavelengths consistent with gravity waves suggest increased neutral and plasma wave intensities around the terminators below 180 km altitudes. Above, 180 km altitudes, the highest relative wave power occurs near the thermospheric temperature peak.


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