The Analyzer of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA-3) experiment flown on the Mars Express (MEX) spacecraft includes the Electron Spectrometer (ELS) as part of its complement. The ELS instrument measures the differential electron flux spectrum in a 128-level logarithmic energy sweep within a time period of 4 s. The orbital path of MEX traverses the martian sheath, cusps, and tail where ELS recorded periodic electron intensity oscillations. These oscillations comprised periodic variations of up to an order of magnitude (peak to valley) in energy flux, with the largest amplitudes in the tens to hundreds of eV range. The observed oscillations displayed periods ranging from minutes down to the instrument sweep resolution of 4 s. In the cases analyzed here, the frequency of the integrated electron energy flux typically peaked between 0.01 and 0.02 Hz. This frequency range is nearly the same as the typical O+ gyrofrequency in the magnetosheath, calculated using magnetometer data from Mars Global Surveyor. Due to the motion of the spacecraft, it is unclear if the wave structures observed were permanent standing waves or rather constituted waves propagating past the spacecraft.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2006|