TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 50 (No. 3), pp. 279-287, 1998

Multiple shocks near Mars

Eduard Dubinin1,2,5, Konrad Sauer1,5, Klaus Baumgärtel3,5, and Krishna Srivastava4

1Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
2Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences,117810 Moscow, Russia
3Astrophysikalisches Institut D-14437 Potsdam, Germany
4University of Delhi, India
5International Space Science Institute (ISSI), Hallerstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

(Received August 4, 1997; Accepted January 13, 1998)

Abstract: Mars presents us with an example of a magnetosheath in which the interaction of the solar wind with planetary plasma of heavy ions results in a generation of strong nonlinear bi-ion MHD waves. These waves provide oscillations in the momentum exchange between protons and heavy ions and may give rise to multiple shock-like structures. One-dimensional hybrid simulations of plasma flow interaction with a "heavy ion obstacle" were performed to study the generation of shock waves in bi-ion plasma. A differential motion of protons and heavy ions leads to bunching of heavy ion flow picked up by solar wind. Plasma bunching arises because of a resonant interaction between magnetosound waves excited by beam and "slow" waves of a spatial charge in the heavy ion flow. Both kinds of waves grow, steepen and gradually evolve to shocks.

Corresponding author E-mail: dubinin@helene.mpae.gwdg.de

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