Tuesday, February 27

Mysterious plasma jet streams have been detected in the magnetosheath of Mars 2023

Mars’ magnetosheath has first-ever jet streams.

Ume University and Kiruna’s Swedish Institute of Space Physics used MAVEN data to identify the jet streams.

The scientists say this is the first time jet streams have been found in a planet’s magnetosheath other than Earth. Late 1990s Earth discoveries included magnetosheath jets.

“Jet streams in magnetosheaths have been seen near Earth for 25 years and we were really curious if they could be found elsewhere,” said Herbert Gunell, Umeå University Associate Professor and project leader.

A magnetosheath jet?

Strong magnetic fields dominate Earth’s magnetosphere. Its components shield the earth and atmosphere from solar radiation.

The magnetosphere’s magnetosheath. A narrow magnetosheath separates the bow shock region from the magnetopause.

The bow shock occurs before the magnetopause, which separates plasma from the solar wind and magnetosphere.

On January 28–29, 2017, and June 10, 2020, the MAVEN satellite saw magnetosheath jets. Jets look quicker or denser than their surroundings.

“We have seen that magnetosheath jets generate waves and can move through the entire magnetosheath into the region of stronger magnetic fields further down. “We just discovered that they exist on Mars, and it will be exciting to learn more about them and their role in the interaction between Mars and the solar wind,” Gunell said.

Jet formation is unknown.

Mars lacks significant magnetic fields, making it unclear what those jets are doing.

Since Mars is different from Earth, it wasn’t apparent we’d discover them there. Mars lacks a global magnetic field and has a smaller magnetosheath than Earth. Gunell noted that Mars had magnetosheath jets despite these differences.

MAVEN, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution satellite, was designed to explore how the Martian atmosphere was removed billions of years ago. Since 2014, it has been orbiting Mars, researching its atmosphere and solar wind interaction.

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