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Open Access

Model calculations of the planetary ion distribution in the Martian tail

Earth, Planets and Space201450:BF03352132

Received: 4 August 1997

Accepted: 9 April 1998

Published: 6 June 2014


Based on a recent model of the Martian atmosphere/exosphere and a model of the magnetic field and solar wind flow around Mars, the distribution of different planetary ion species in the near tail is calculated. Three main regions are identified: 1) “clouds” of pickup ions with distinct mass separation travel along cycloidal trajectories; 2) another group of ions forms a distinct plasma mantle in the magnetosphere; 3) a third population fills up the plasma sheet. Further, the energy of ions in different locations is also analyzed. Finally, comparison of observations made onboard the Phobos-2 spacecraft shows a reasonable agreement with simulation results.


Solar WindInterplanetary Magnetic FieldPlasma SheetSolar Wind FlowAmbipolar Electric Field