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Observations of a huge mini-magnetosphere above the Martian Crustal magnetic fields

Presentation #211.04 in the session Planetary Space Physics (Poster)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Observations of a huge mini-magnetosphere above the Martian Crustal magnetic fields

Mars is typically regarded as a non-magnetic planet. Currents in the Martian ionosphere generate a Venus-like induced magnetosphere to standoff the solar wind flows and to pile up the interplanetary magnetic fields. However, crustal magnetic fields in the southern hemisphere influence local plasma properties. With the support of the MAVEN mission, we present the first evidence of a crustal ‘mini-magnetosphere’ formed by trapped heavy ions on the Martian dayside. We establish three criteria to differentiate this mini-magnetosphere from the induced magnetosphere. Notably, the mini-magnetosphere exhibits a higher plasma beta, with a balance between planetary ions, crustal magnetic fields, and the solar wind at the magnetopause. Observations show that the crustal magnetosphere reaches 1300 km, larger than one-third of the Martian radius, indicating a dichotomy of induced/crustal magnetosphere between northern/southern hemispheres. The huge ‘mini-magnetosphere’ might provide novel insights into interactions between the solar wind and planets in weak magnetic field environments.

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