Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2021-40
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2021-40

  04 Aug 2021

04 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Estimating Ion Escape from Unmagnetized Planets

Mats Holmstrom Mats Holmstrom
  • Swedish Institute of Space Physics, PO Box 812, SE-981 28 Kiruna, Sweden

Abstract. We propose a new method to estimate ion escape from unmagnetized planets that combines observations and models. Assuming that upstream solar wind conditions are known, a computer model of the interaction between the solar wind and the planet is executed for different ionospheric ion production rates. This results in different amounts of mass loading of the solar wind. Then we obtain the ion escape rate from the model run that best fit observations of the bow shock location. As an example of the method we estimate the heavy ion escape from Mars on 2015-03-01 to be 2 · 1024 ions per second, using a hybrid plasma model and observations by MAVEN and Mars Express. This method enables studies of how escape depend on different parameters, and also escape rates during extreme solar wind conditions, applicable to studies of escape in the early solar system, and at exoplanets.

Mats Holmstrom

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on angeo-2021-40', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Mats Holmström, 15 Sep 2021

Mats Holmstrom

Mats Holmstrom

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Short summary
Here we propose a new method to estimate the loss of atmosphere by ion escape from unmagnetized planets that combines observations and models. The proposed method allow us to estimate the ionospheric ion escape rate from one bow shock crossing using ion and magnetic field observations. This enables studies of how escape depend on different parameters, and also escape rates during extreme solar wind conditions, applicable to studies of escape in the early solar system, and at exoplanets.