First Measurements of Composition and Dynamics of the Martian Ionosphere by MAVEN's Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer

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We report the results of the observations of the ionosphere of Mars by the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer. These observations were conducted during the first 8 months of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN). These observations revealed the spatial and temporal structures in the density distributions of 22 ions: H2+, H3+, He+, O2+, C+, CH+, N+, NH+, O+, OH+, H2O+, H3O+, N2+/CO+, HCO+/HOC+/N2H+, NO+, HNO+, O2+, HO2+, Ar+, ArH+, CO2+, and OCOH+. Dusk/dawn and day/night asymmetries in the density distributions were observed for nearly all ion species. Additionally, high-density fluctuations were detected on the nightside and may reflect the effect of the partial screening of the atmosphere of Mars by the weak intrinsic magnetic field of the planet. The two first MAVEN “deep dip” campaigns were used to investigate the location of the primary ion peak. This peak was detected at 190 km near the terminator but was below the spacecraft altitude of 130 km near the subsolar point.



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