Effects of an Intrinsic Magnetic Field on Ion Loss From Ancient Mars Based on Multispecies MHD Simulations

R. Sakata, K. Seki, S. Sakai, N. Terada, H. Shinagawa, T. Tanaka

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Ion loss to space has played an important role in atmospheric escape and climate change on Mars because of intense solar activity during a younger, more active phase of the Sun. Although the existence of an intrinsic magnetic field on ancient Mars is also a key factor in ion loss, its effect remains unclear. Based on multispecies magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations, we investigated processes and rates of ion loss from Mars under extreme solar conditions and the existence of a dipole field with different strengths. The effects of a dipole field on ion loss depend on whether the dipolar magnetic pressure is strong enough to sustain the solar wind dynamic pressure. When the dipole field is existent but weak, it facilitates the cusp outflow and increases the loss rates of molecular ions (O2 + and CO2 +) by a factor of 6 through the high-latitude magnetotail. When the dipole field is strong enough, the loss rates of molecular ions are decreased by 2 orders of magnitude, and peaks of the escape flux are located near the equatorial plane due to the magnetic reconnection in the northern-dusk or southern-dawn lobe regions. The pickup process on the extended oxygen corona created by the strong EUV flux contributes to the total O+ loss. Therefore, the effects of the dipole field are less pronounced for O+. Under more moderate solar EUV conditions, the effects on O+ loss can be stronger and thus contribute to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JA026945
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 1


  • ancient Mars
  • atmospheric evolution
  • extreme solar condition
  • intrinsic magnetic field
  • ion escape


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