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Keywords:

  • photoelectrons;
  • plasma transport;
  • Mars;
  • magnetic fields

[1] We compare Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) magnetometer/electron reflectometer data with results from a B field–dependent kinetic transport code for “superthermal” electrons. The photoelectrons created on crustal field loops, when they are on the dayside, allow for the exploration of the magnetic topology and the upper atmospheric density structure. A case study of a typical orbit of the MGS satellite through the strong crustal field region in the southern hemisphere of Mars is examined. The results indicate that the low solar wind dynamic pressure during the selected orbit allowed for the expansion of the crustal field line to relatively high altitudes. Another feature of the photoelectrons in the crustal field region is that the distribution at high energies (E > 100 eV) is far more isotropic than what is expected from collisional scattering processes alone. Several candidate processes are discussed that might be preferentially scattering high-energy electrons. A final conclusion is that a two-stream model is inadequate for effectively examining photoelectron pitch angle distributions at Mars in the presence of the crustal fields.