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Hands On Mineral Identification helps you to identify over 14,500 minerals! By M. Darby Dyar, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
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 sun, however, the Martian magnetosphere may be too small to do that very well. In this picture, MGS can be seen going around Mars.

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.


Last modified June 3, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF