This image illustrates one way in which the magnetometer instrument studies the planet.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL
The Martian Magnetosphere
An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetic field near Mars. The magnetic field leads to the formation of a magnetosphere, as shown in this drawing. A magnetosphere helps protect a planet from the solar
wind, however, the Martian magnetosphere may be too small to do that very well. In this picture, MGS can be seen orbiting Mars within the magnetosphere.
The magnetosphere is considered to be the last region of the planet under the influence of the planets gravity and magnetic field, not including the planet's moons. Outside the magnetosphere, the regions of influence of the planet stop. Thus the magnetosphere can be found outside of, but somewhat overlapping the planet's atmosphere. Particles of the atmosphere can sometimes enter the magnetosphere and particles of the magnetosphere can sometimes enter the atmosphere.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetosphere around Mars. Previous missions made inconclusive measurements of the...more
A magnetosphere has many parts, such as the bow shock, magnetosheath, magnetotail, plasmasheet, lobes, plasmasphere, radiation belts and many electric currents. It is composed of charged particles and...more
The Martian ionosphere is a layer of gas composed of ions and electrons that extends from about 75 miles up to several hundred miles up above the surface. The layer is shown schematically by the shaded...more
Unlike the Earth, where clouds are found around the entire globe, on Mars, clouds seem to be plentiful only in the middle latitudes, as shown in this Hubble telescope image. This may be because water of...more
An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetic field near Mars. The magnetic field leads to the formation of a magnetosphere,...more
The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After a six-month, 285 million-mile journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001 (02:30 Universal...more
The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more