Ion escape fluxes from Mars

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Abstract

[1] A 3D, multi-species, non-ideal MHD numerical code was used to calculate the ion escape fluxes from Mars. The calculations were carried out for six cases with different nominal solar wind, solar cycle and crustal field orientation conditions and the total escape fluxes (the sum of the three major ionospheric species, O+, O2+, and CO2+) varied by about an order of magnitude from 2.7 × 1023 to 2.4 × 1024 sec−1. These results were compared to the recently measured Mars Express results of 3.2 × 1023 sec−1 (O+, O2+, and CO2+), which were obtained near solar cycle minimum conditions, indicating a good agreement between measured and calculated fluxes. We also calculated the escape flux for “extremely” high solar wind conditions which leads to a flux of 3 × 1025 sec−1.

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