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Effects of Low Energetic Neutral Atoms on Martian and Venusian Dayside Exospheric Temperature Estimations

Effects of Low Energetic Neutral Atoms on Martian and Venusian Dayside Exospheric Temperature... The heating of the upper atmospheres and the formation of the ionospheres on Venus and Mars are mainly controlled by the solar X-ray and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation (λ = 0.1–102.7 nm and can be characterized by the 10.7 cm solar radio flux). Previous estimations of the average Martian dayside exospheric temperature inferred from topside plasma scale heights, UV airglow and Lyman-α dayglow observations of up to ∼500 K imply a stronger dependence on solar activity than that found on Venus by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (PVO) and Magellan spacecraft. However, this dependence appears to be inconsistent with exospheric temperatures (<250 K) inferred from aerobraking maneuvers of recent spacecraft like Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey during different solar activity periods and at different orbital locations of the planet. In a similar way, early Lyman-α dayglow and UV airglow observations by Venera 4, Mariner 5 and 10, and Venera 9–12 at Venus also suggested much higher exospheric temperatures of up to 1000 K as compared with the average dayside exospheric temperature of about 270 K inferred from neutral gas mass spectrometry data obtained by PVO. In order to compare Venus and Mars, we estimated the dayside exobase temperature of Venus by using electron density profiles obtained from the PVO radio science experiment during the solar cycle and found the Venusian temperature to vary between 250–300 K, being in reasonable agreement with the exospheric temperatures inferred from Magellan aerobraking data and PVO mass spectrometer measurements. The same method has been applied to Mars by studying the solar cycle variation of the ionospheric peak plasma density observed by Mars Global Surveyor during both solar minimum and maximum conditions, yielding a temperature range between 190–220 K. This result clearly indicates that the average Martian dayside temperature at the exobase does not exceed a value of about 240 K during high solar activity conditions and that the response of the upper atmosphere temperature on Mars to solar activity near the ionization maximum is essentially the same as on Venus. The reason for this discrepancy between exospheric temperature determinations from topside plasma scale heights and electron distributions near the ionospheric maximum seems to lie in the fact that thermal and photochemical equilibrium applies only at altitudes below 170 km, whereas topside scale heights are derived for much higher altitudes where they are modified by transport processes and where local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) conditions are violated. Moreover, from simulating the energy density distribution of photochemically produced moderately energetic H, C and O atoms, as well as CO molecules, we argue that exospheric temperatures inferred from Lyman-α dayglow and UV airglow observations result in too high values, because these particles, as well as energetic neutral atoms, transformed from solar wind protons into hydrogen atoms via charge exchange, may contribute to the observed planetary hot neutral gas coronae. Because the low exospheric temperatures inferred from neutral gas mass spectrometer and aerobraking data, as well as from CO+ 2 UV doublet emissions near 180–260 nm obtained from the Mars Express SPICAM UV spectrograph suggest rather low heating efficiencies, some hitherto unidentified additional IR-cooling mechanism in the thermospheres of both Venus and Mars is likely to exist. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Space Science Reviews Springer Journals

Effects of Low Energetic Neutral Atoms on Martian and Venusian Dayside Exospheric Temperature Estimations

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References (4)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Physics; Space Sciences (including Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Exploration and Astronautics); Planetology; Aerospace Technology and Astronautics; Astrophysics and Astroparticles
ISSN
0038-6308
eISSN
1572-9672
DOI
10.1007/s11214-006-9082-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The heating of the upper atmospheres and the formation of the ionospheres on Venus and Mars are mainly controlled by the solar X-ray and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation (λ = 0.1–102.7 nm and can be characterized by the 10.7 cm solar radio flux). Previous estimations of the average Martian dayside exospheric temperature inferred from topside plasma scale heights, UV airglow and Lyman-α dayglow observations of up to ∼500 K imply a stronger dependence on solar activity than that found on Venus by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (PVO) and Magellan spacecraft. However, this dependence appears to be inconsistent with exospheric temperatures (<250 K) inferred from aerobraking maneuvers of recent spacecraft like Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey during different solar activity periods and at different orbital locations of the planet. In a similar way, early Lyman-α dayglow and UV airglow observations by Venera 4, Mariner 5 and 10, and Venera 9–12 at Venus also suggested much higher exospheric temperatures of up to 1000 K as compared with the average dayside exospheric temperature of about 270 K inferred from neutral gas mass spectrometry data obtained by PVO. In order to compare Venus and Mars, we estimated the dayside exobase temperature of Venus by using electron density profiles obtained from the PVO radio science experiment during the solar cycle and found the Venusian temperature to vary between 250–300 K, being in reasonable agreement with the exospheric temperatures inferred from Magellan aerobraking data and PVO mass spectrometer measurements. The same method has been applied to Mars by studying the solar cycle variation of the ionospheric peak plasma density observed by Mars Global Surveyor during both solar minimum and maximum conditions, yielding a temperature range between 190–220 K. This result clearly indicates that the average Martian dayside temperature at the exobase does not exceed a value of about 240 K during high solar activity conditions and that the response of the upper atmosphere temperature on Mars to solar activity near the ionization maximum is essentially the same as on Venus. The reason for this discrepancy between exospheric temperature determinations from topside plasma scale heights and electron distributions near the ionospheric maximum seems to lie in the fact that thermal and photochemical equilibrium applies only at altitudes below 170 km, whereas topside scale heights are derived for much higher altitudes where they are modified by transport processes and where local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) conditions are violated. Moreover, from simulating the energy density distribution of photochemically produced moderately energetic H, C and O atoms, as well as CO molecules, we argue that exospheric temperatures inferred from Lyman-α dayglow and UV airglow observations result in too high values, because these particles, as well as energetic neutral atoms, transformed from solar wind protons into hydrogen atoms via charge exchange, may contribute to the observed planetary hot neutral gas coronae. Because the low exospheric temperatures inferred from neutral gas mass spectrometer and aerobraking data, as well as from CO+ 2 UV doublet emissions near 180–260 nm obtained from the Mars Express SPICAM UV spectrograph suggest rather low heating efficiencies, some hitherto unidentified additional IR-cooling mechanism in the thermospheres of both Venus and Mars is likely to exist.

Journal

Space Science ReviewsSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 23, 2007

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