Articles | Volume 25, issue 1
01 Feb 2007
 | 01 Feb 2007

Aspects of solar wind interaction with Mars: comparison of fluid and hybrid simulations

N. V. Erkaev, A. Bößwetter, U. Motschmann, and H. K. Biernat

Abstract. Mars has no global intrinsic magnetic field, and consequently the solar wind plasma interacts directly with the planetary ionosphere. The main factors of this interaction are: thermalization of plasma after the bow shock, ion pick-up process, and the magnetic barrier effect, which results in the magnetic field enhancement in the vicinity of the obstacle. Results of ideal magnetohydrodynamic and hybrid simulations are compared in the subsolar magnetosheath region. Good agreement between the models is obtained for the magnetic field and plasma parameters just after the shock front, and also for the magnetic field profiles in the magnetosheath. Both models predict similar positions of the proton stoppage boundary, which is known as the ion composition boundary. This comparison allows one to estimate applicability of magnetohydrodynamics for Mars, and also to check the consistency of the hybrid model with Rankine-Hugoniot conditions at the bow shock. An additional effect existing only in the hybrid model is a diffusive penetration of the magnetic field inside the ionosphere. Collisions between ions and neutrals are analyzed as a possible physical reason for the magnetic diffusion seen in the hybrid simulations.