Ionospheres Menu

Planetary Ionospheres

Members of the PASS group are also involved with studies of the ionosphere of Mars. The ionosphere is a region of charged plasma that surrounds the planet and behaves in ways that can be different than the neutral atmosphere. The ionosphere of Mars has been observed by multiple mission instruments. The structure and variability of the ionosphere are used to examine dynamics that are common to other planets with atmospheres and can help distinguish phenomena that are unique to Mars’ environment. Majd Mayyasi is involved with data analysis of ionospheric profiles obtained with the Viking Landers, Viking Orbiter, Mariner 9, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express, and MAVEN missions. These data are used to understand the characteristics of the presently enigmatic topside ionosphere of Mars. This region holds clues to how the atmosphere interacts with the solar wind and escapes to outer space.

Majd Mayyasi is one of the developers of the Mars Ionosphere Model. A tool that is being used to better understand the composition, energetics and dynamics of the ionosphere of Mars. Crustal field, solar wind, lower atmospheric upwelling, and cometary interactions are some of the topics being currently investigated using the model.