June 9 () –
Data collected by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft have revealed the existence of jet streams in the magnetic sheath of Mars.
This is the first time such a jet has been found in the magnetic envelope of a planet other than Earth. The results are published in the journal Science Advances.
A magnetoenvelope jet is a pool of plasma that flows in the magnetoenvelope. It is distinguished by being faster or denser than its surroundings, sometimes both faster and denser. The magnetoenvelope is the part of space where the solar wind is forced to flow around a planet.
“Jet streams have been seen in magnetic shrouds near Earth for 25 years and we were very curious if they could be found elsewhere,” he says. it’s a statement Herbert Gunell, an associate professor at Umea University, who led the study.
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft has been in orbit around Mars since 2014 to study the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with the solar wind.
“Before MAVEN, only around Earth did we have satellites with instruments fast enough to detect jets. But it wasn’t obvious that we would find them on Mars, since there are important differences between the two planets. For example, Mars is smaller than Earth. Earth and lacks a global magnetic field, so the magnetoenvelope on Mars is much smaller than on Earth. Despite these differences, we now know that Mars also has magnetoenvelope jets.says Herbert Gunell.
“We have already seen that magnetoenvelope jets generate waves and that they can move through the entire magnetoenvelope and into the region of stronger magnetic fields below. We have just discovered that they exist on Mars, and it will be exciting to know more about them and the role they play in the interaction between Mars and the solar wind.“.